‘ Cud­dly cat toy’ sparks pan­ther spec­u­la­tion

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Westminster Life - By Kenmcer­lain

Alarge cud­dly toy left on a grass bank trig­gered con­cerns that a black cat might have been on the loose in Peter­bor­ough. Ea­gle- eyed reader Marc Pea­cock- Smith con­tacted the PT af­ter spot­ting what looked like the out­line of a black pan­ther­like cre­atrure ly­ing on a grass verge out­side Thor­peWood­po­lice sta­tion in Longthorpe.

MrPea­cock- Smith, who­had been on his way to work at the time stopped to take a pic­ture of the­fig­ure, which­hethensent tothePT­for­fur­therin­spec­tion.

He­said: “I was­driv­ing along to drop my son off at nurs­ery whenI­sawwhat­looked­likethe big­gest black cat or pan­ther sat on a verge right out­side the po­lice sta­tion.

“I stopped my car for a few sec­ondssoI­could­takeapic­ture on­my­mo­bile­phone, I didn’t get out of my car and I must have been­about10me­tre­sor­so­away fromit. It just sat there. I’m sure other peo­ple saw it too.

“My re­ac­tion was in­trigue more than any­thing, I j ust thought it was really odd.”

H o w e v e r , i t looks likely that ob­ject may have been a ‘ life- size’ child’s cud­dly toy.

A spokesman f or Cam­bridgeshire Po­lice said of­fi­cers had re­ceived a call on Mon­day af­ter­noon from some­one re­port­ing a Puma walking along a grass verge in Thorpe Road, Longthorpe.

How­ever, the spokesman added that a very large stuffed toy cat had been seen in the same area ear­lier the same day.

Daniel Bamp­ing, founder of the Bri­tish Big Cats So­ci­ety, viewed the pic­ture for the PT, and said: “This looks to me like a large cud­dly toy.”

The sight­ing rekin­dled spec­u­la­tion about the myth­i­cal ‘ Beast of Bret­ton’ a large black cat re­put­edly sighted in thecityen­vi­rons- mostre­cently spot­te­donafoot­pathinMal­lard Road, Bret­ton, by Royal Mail worker Cl i ve Wil­liams in Au­gust 2011.

Mr Bamp­ing added: “There are hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of big cat sight­ings re­ported in Bri­tain ev­ery year – some peo­ple are mis­taken. Some are clearly not big cats but a large ma­jor­ity ei­ther are or go un­ex­plained.”

He said sight­ings are widespreadan­doc­curin­ev­erycounty, fu­elled­partly­bythe­fact­such “big­cats” are­able­to­cov­er25km to35k­mi­nonenight­in­searchof shel­ter, food or a mate.

The pho­to­graph of a ‘ mys­te­ri­ous’ black cat taken by Marc Pea­cock- Smith – be­lieved to be a life- size toy.

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