Fresh beast sighting re-opens old riddle|Ed Malone|cfz@eclipse.co.uk|01/14/06 at 13:12:31|obadiah|xx|0|86.131.98.96|From the Wakefield Express (UK): 13 Jan. 2006
Fresh beast sighting re-opens old riddle

A BLACK panther or a puma could be prowling the countryside of Wakefield
after the sighting of a huge dark animal believed to be a big cat.

Lindsay Burnand-Smith, 27, was returning to her Alverthorpe home after
visiting relatives when she turned off at junction 40 of the M1 and drove
along Albert Drive on the Silkwood Business Park.

It was about 8pm on Saturday night and the young mum was in her car with her
18-month-old son, Finley.

Mrs Burnand-Smith said: "All of a sudden a big black cat ran across the road
in front of me. Not a pet cat, dog, horse or any thing else - a big black
cat. I would say it was a black panther or a puma. I am absolutely convinced
about what I saw."

She said: "It was a huge bounding animal, about four feet in length, it was
not walking but had a kind of springing sway to its movement.

"I cannot believe what I saw, I was amazed and had to do a double take. It
took my breath away."

The animal slinked its way across Albert Drive, pausing to look at the
stationary car before disappearing into the swampy wasteland and into the
darkness.

Mrs Burnand-Smith said: "I was not going to hang around on my own so I just
drove home."

Once home, at Beechwood Avenue, Flanshaw Park, she told her husband, Mark,
what had just happened.

She said: "I said to him that he would not believe what I had just seen.
There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that I certainly saw a puma or a
black panther."

Mrs Burnand-Smith believes the big cat was heading towards Low Laithes Golf
Course and was lured there by smells from a nearby abattoir.

She said: "Nothing like this has ever happened to me. Before Saturday I was
simply not interested in these sorts of things."

Paul Westwood, of South Kirkby, investigates sightings of big cats for his
website.

He said: "A lot of people think they see big cats but it turns out they are
mistaken, although I am not saying this woman has not seen a panther."

Mr Westwood said he has investigated lots of sightings in the Wakefield
district during the last six years.

He believes it could be a possibility that the same animal is responsible
for all of the sightings.

He said: "Big cats cover a territory that ranges about 60 miles, so it's
possible there could be one animal covering a large area of West Yorkshire
that people keep spotting.

"A few years ago a farmer had some of his livestock killed out at Denby Dale
and there have been sightings in Wintersett.

"I visited the village two years ago, after a property developer contacted
me saying he had seen a big cat. While I was there I got speaking to a
farmer and he told me there was a black fox on the loose in the area, which
could explain some of the sightings."

Mr Westwood will be visiting Wakefield as he continues his quest to track
down evidence that the big cats are really out there.

He urged anyone who sees a big cat to contact the police and himself via his
website www.bigcatmonitors.co.uk
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