Readers recall cat encounters

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THEY may still be considered as nothing more than a myth by many - but according to some Derbyshire Times readers, big cat sightings are a common occurrence in our county.

In response to an article published last month on Derbyshire big cats, several of you got in touch to share your experiences of the feline phenomenon.

One reader, Andy Booker, emailed to say: “My dad has sighted a big cat around the Wingerworth area. He said it was unmistakable for any other common animal.

“He said it was the size of a medium sized dog and jet black but had the ‘swagger’ of a cat walking.”

Another, who wished not to be named, reported several encounters with the animals, including one on Pudding Pie Hill, Chesterfield.

He said: “Turning a steep bend I was confronted by a largish animal in the road.

“No doubting whatsoever, the creature was a lynx with distinctive red brown/grey fur with black patterning and although the ears were back the tufts at their tips were visible.”

On Facebook, Nigel Bradbury, commented: “A panther was sighted a few years ago, by my brother Richard, up the Headlands at Winster.”

But Facebook fan, Max Hall, was dubious. He said: “What a load of tosh. Big cats/UFOs/bigfoot - why in this day and age someone doesn’t get a decent photo when everyone has a camera on their person?”

Nick Brown, enquiries officer for Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said that while big cats in the county is an interesting topic, more evidence is needed.

He said: “I do think that there have been and perhaps still are large cats in Britain that are evading proper identification, but we still haven’t got a good DNA record.

“It is fascinating and something we should get to the bottom of. But we do need some hard evidence.”

l Do you think big cats in the UK are just a myth? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk