Panther sightings are causing a stir

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Reported sightings of a panther-like cat are causing a stir in the north of the county.

Several people in Gretton have reported seeing a large black animal in locations near the village. And, after speaking to people who claim to have seen the panther, villager Rob Clark is convinced their accounts are reliable.

He said: “Everyone I spoke to is not, as far as I know, prone to flights of fancy or telling tall stories.

“I’m convinced that these big cats do exist and that one, or more, has roamed around the fields and lanes of the village. Although I’m interested in this phenomenon, I wasn’t aware until recently that there had been any sightings in Gretton. Not only have there been sightings, there have been lots of them.”

One of the earliest reports of a panther-like cat being seen dates back five years ago when a woman, who lives in the village, said she saw it on a track leading to Corby Road. She called her husband on her mobile phone and he met up with her and saw the animal too. They reported the incident to the police.

More recent sightings have been reported in Station Road, from a back garden in Arnhill Road and near Manor Farm.

Broadcaster and Evening Telegraph columnist Richard Oliff also saw the big black cat back in 2003 as he was driving with his partner along Gretton Brook Road, Corby, to their home in the village.

He said: “Reports of recent sightings don’t surprise me. The big black cat we saw was the size of an animal that should have been in a zoo.”

Landlord of the Bluebell pub, Gretton, Jim Caulfield, said: “People are talking about it but I’m not sure what to believe.”