New big cat sightings
Sarah WadeSIGHTINGS of big cats in Norwich and the Norfolk countryside are coming thick and fast.Two more sightings were reported to The Advertiser this week, just days after a panther-like creature was spotted in Hellesdon.Sarah Wade
SIGHTINGS of big cats in Norwich and the Norfolk countryside are coming thick and fast.
Two more sightings were reported to The Advertiser this week, just days after a panther-like creature was spotted in Hellesdon.
Leslie Koe came forward this week to reveal that he saw a large black cat curled up asleep under a tree near County Hall last summer - six months after he first saw a similar animal in Felthorpe Woods in north Norfolk.
Mr Koe, of Harvey Lane, was driving his truck along Martineau Lane about a year ago, when he spotted the creature.
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'I was driving along near County Hall when my truck conked out, so I pulled over. And lying asleep under a nearby tree not six feet away from me was a panther,' he said. 'It looked up at me, and then just ambled away. It didn't run, it wasn't in a hurry.
'I called the police, but they just laughed and said I must have seen a pussy cat. But I know what a panther looks like. It was a lot bigger than a German shepherd.
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'I tried to run after it, but I couldn't keep up.'
Mr Koe also claimed to have seen a similar creature in Felthorpe Woods in north Norfolk 18 months ago - close to the area dubbed the 'big cat hotspot', Hevingham.
'It was beside the road and then it leapt over a hedge. It was about the same size as the other one. It was black and muddy, and had a long tail.
'I think there must be two or three about, as people used to own them. But they got too much to cope with, so the owners let them go in the countryside.'
There have been a number of big cat sightings in Norwich and Norfolk in recent weeks. Last week, Mark Jermy reported seeing a black, panther-like cat in Reepham Road, Hellesdon.
Mr Jermy, who was driving along the road towards Taverham, said: 'It was running across the fields on the left-hand side of the road. It was bigger than a German shepherd dog, completely black and leaps with a cat-like stride.'
Another animal was spotted in Bryony Close in north Norwich two weeks ago. James Smith saw 'a large wild cat' across the road from him, at the bottom of the close.
'I was pulling away in my van when I noticed a dark coloured, wild-looking cat digging around at the base of a newly felled tree,' he said.
'It had caught my attention as it was clearly bigger and not as well kept as a domestic cat. This was about two weeks ago and I thought nothing of it till my girlfriend read about the other sightings in the paper.'
Previous sightings have been reported in Aylmerton, Hevingham and North Elmham.
If you have seen a big black cat let us know. E-mail reporter firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our reader forums at www.advertiser24.co.uk
Recent big cat sightings in Norfolk:
18 months ago - Felthorpe Woods
Last summer - near County Hall, Martineau Lane
June 2008 - Weybourne
Early February 2009 - Sandy Lane, Aylmerton
February 18, 2009 - Hevingham, near Alysham - dubbed 'big cat hotspot' two years ago
February 20 - North Elmham, near Dereham
Between March 9 and 15, 2009 - Bryony Close, north Norwich
March 25, 2009, Reepham Road Helleson