Beast of Sedgemoor 'proof'|Richard_F||02/15/07 at 21:03:42|richard_f|xx|0||Beast of Sedgemoor 'proof'
By Ben Pike

Has a beast like this ever roamed Sedgemoor?
CONCLUSIVE proof that the "Beast of Sedgemoor" once roamed around Bridgwater
may finally have been un-earthed by the Mercury.
Stawell couple Les and Juliet Helps this week recounted the moment when they
saw the black panther-like creature as it stalked its prey near their home
on the Polden Hills.
And the chance recording of the incident on a hand-held camera by their son,
Chris, 15 years ago could be the only time the mysterious beast has been
caught on film.
Les said: "My son was filming a vixen with her cubs in the field behind our
house and we saw this black thing come out of the trees.
"We could hear the vixen screaming at this animal to try and get it away
from her cubs - it was a terrible noise.
"We could see it was a cat of some sort and about the size of a Labrador
with a big tail. It began circling around the vixen with its lashing tail
and looked ready to attack."
The whole sequence was saved on Betamax video before being transferred onto
VHS. The quality of picture has suffered because of the transfer but the
image of the big cat can still be made out.
In the two-minute sequence, seen by the Mercury, a large black creature with
a long tail can be seen in a stand-off with the vixen.
Unfortunately, a still image of the tape was not available at the time of
going to press.
The quest for concrete evidence of the Beast's existence began two weeks ago
when a team of researchers from Channel Five's Big Cat Search appealed for
Mercury readers to contact them if they had seen the animal prowling around
the area.
Mark James said the response from Bridgwater had been "brilliant" and gave
the team some important leads in the making of the programme. He said: "We
went to Cornwall to film for three days last week and when we returned we
had ten messages on our hotline, all of which were sightings in the
Bridgwater area. The response was brilliant, thank you very much to everyone
who contacted us."
Earlier this month, Mervyn Slocombe revealed that he saw a wild cat at
Enmore Park Golf Club in 1992 and a number of other callers have contacted
the Mercury to share their experiences.
Anyone who sees what they think is a big cat can ring a designated hotline
on 0870-3339083 or visit the website at catsearch.
Any who believes they have seen the animal should also tell the Mercury
newsroom by emailing our reporters at newsdesk@bridgwater