'Black panther' reported in woodlands south of Stamford
A black panther has reportedly been seen in woodland just south of Stamford.
Craig Smith (pictured below) says he saw the beast on Sunday and it was jet back with a long tail.
The Kettering resident says he was on his way to Lincolnshire on the A43 and he saw the animal after he had just passed Fine Shade Wood.
"I can't believe what I saw. It completely took me by surprise."
"As I drove passed the woods, something caught my eye on the left hand side. It took a couple of seconds for me to compute what I saw. It was a big black cat. It was walking along the edge of the woodland. From where I was driving I would have estimated it would have been up to my waist."
The 46-year-old who works as a contractor looking after Northamptonshire fire stations continued: "It was the most stunning black i have ever seen. The tail struck me the most. It swooped to the floors. At this point I knew it could not have been a deer or a fox.
"I'm a big cat lover. I know what I saw. It wasn't a puma as they are smaller. It was definitely a panther. You do hear stories. I have never been fortunate enough to see one but hand on my heart it was a panther.
"I went back yesterday to look for the footprints, but there was a farmer applying chemicals in the field."
Since the Sunday sighting, Craig says he has shared the story with others and is keen to hear of any other sightings.
He says a friend told him a black panther (stock picture above) has been spotted 4-5 times over the past month within a 20 mile radius in the Corby area.
Craig added: "I don't want any harm to come to the animal. It's not hurting anybody. They are more scared of us. I thought I would share this with people. It's not everyday you see this."
Have you seen a panther or any other exotic creature in Rutland or Lincolnshire?
If so, please email the Mercury at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01780-758950.