warwickshire big cat|shearluck|lewisoll@yahoo.co.uk|03/20/06 at 15:26:55|shearluck|xx|0||[quote]2/3/06

Purring Prowler seen again

A further sighting has been reported of a suspected black panther roaming the Warwickshire countryside. After reports earlier this month of a large black cat prowling Snitterfield, the Observer was contact by a nail technician from nearby Bearley who told us she too had spotted a big cat through the window of a customer's home as it wandered through the fields.

Big cat enthusiast Helen Smith was busy preparing her equipment in the customer's kitchen sink on December 23 when she looked out across the fields and was amazed to see what she claims was definitely a panther."I couldn't believe it when I looked out of the window and there it was just walking across the fields without a care in the world," said Mrs Smith. "It was quite a distance away but still looked very big so I immediately knew it was a panther."

While many sightings of the big cats come from people who may not be familiar with the animals, Mrs Smith is something of an expert having spent ten summers in a row going on safari to spot them. "I know that what I saw was definitely a panther - I watched it for five minutes as it walked across the fields behind Bearley near to Stratford Oaks Golf Club," she added."It was an amazing sight and I think it is fantastic to know these wonderful creatures are harmlessly going about their business in our countryside."

The sighting is one in a long list which include a sighting two weeks ago in Snitterfield, two in Lowsonford and Rowington last year and several in recent years in places including Ilmington, Alcester, Weston, Wellesbourne, Barford, Hampton Lucy and Charlecote.

Warwickshire Police's big cat expert PC Craig Fellowes has said that evidence collected by the British Big Cat Society suggests that a black panther could be roaming the Warwickshire countryside. He added that people who do come across these animals should not be alarmed but should keep away from them and contact the police immediately on 01926 415000.