'Big cat' encounter convinces council chiefs

A A A

Council chiefs today hailed a big cat sighting as the best ever proof the so-called mythical beasts really exist.

A former policeman based in west Wales spotted a "puma or panther-like animal" as recently as Wednesday.



Despite his name, Michael Disney is in no way regarded as a man given to telling fairy tales or taking flights of fancy.



Now working for Pembrokeshire County Council's Public Protection Division, his sighting is being treated as 100% authentic.



While he gathered no photographic or other evidence, his sighting appears to give greater credence to the so-called big cat myth.



Stories of feline beasts living in remote corners of the UK are so common there is barely a region of the country without one.



From the Beast of Bodmin in Cornwall to sightings in Kent and all over the north of England, such stories are common rural legends.



The latest sighting comes days after the government environment watchdog for England dismissed the existence of big cats.



Experts with Natural England said in a report that they were confident no breeding populations of big cats exist in Britain.



Pembrokeshire Council begs to differ and is so convinced by Mr Disney that it is urging the public to report any sightings.



It published extracts of the statement made by their man today, which has been passed to the police.



Mr Disney's encounter happened in broad daylight in countryside six miles north of Haverfordwest, near Treffgarne village.



He was driving his council car on a single track road at 15mph when a large black "puma or panther" crossed five metres in front of him.



"I immediately stopped my vehicle and stared at this animal. It had a large cat-like head, muscular build and was approximately three feet tall," he said.



"It was bigger and more muscular than a German shepherd dog. The coat was smooth and looked like it had brown spots on it.



"I had a clear, unobstructed view of the animal and the visibility was excellent.



"The animal was in my view for fully five to six seconds, the time it took to cover the width of the road and then disappear into the undergrowth at the side."



He added: "I am 100% certain that this was a puma or panther-like animal and was definitely not a dog, cat or any other domestic animal. It was not something I had seen before other than in a zoo."



He called in at a local farm soon after and was told that a large puma-like animal was nearby a few weeks earlier.



Chief Inspector Steve Matchett of Dyfed Powys Police said: "We are aware of a possible big cat sighting in the Treffgarne area of north Pembrokeshire, which occurred on Wednesday.



"We're working with all relevant agencies including Pembrokeshire County Council and the Welsh Assembly Government's Big Cat Sighting Unit has also been informed.



"While the public should not be alarmed by this latest possible sighting, we would urge anyone who does see what they think might be a big cat not to approach the animal and to stay a safe distance away from it."



The last publicised incident in the county was in November when a sheep carcass was reported to bear the hallmarks of a big cat kill.



Pembrokeshire Council's public protection chief Mark Elliott said: "We believe this is the closest anyone has been to a big cat in the wild and is further proof that there is at least one large animal roaming free in Pembrokeshire.



"If anyone has actual evidence of the presence of a big cat they should inform the council's contact centre on 01437 764551."

Suggested Topics
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web Application Support Manager

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

Music Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Maths Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

C# asp.net Developer - West Sussex - permanent - £40k - £50k

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments