Big cat sightings again in Cirencester

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Teacher Rob Charmichael Teacher Rob Charmichael

AN ELUSIVE big cat believed to be stalking the Cirencester area has been spotted again, just yards from where a similar creature was caught on CCTV cameras.

Local teacher Rob Charmichael spotted the creature as he cycled back from Kemble late last Tuesday night.

As he came into to Cirencester off the hospital roundabout he took the wrong route and went down Sheep Street. When he stopped to turn around he saw the cat.

The science teacher, who has recently started at Deer Park School, said: "I heard something in the bushes, turned around and it just looked at me. It was big, I thought it was an escaped lion.

"It didn't run away, it just stood there looking at me."

Rob described the animal as "definitely feline", as big as an alsatian and lion-coloured. He said it had no markings but a distinctive almost bushy tail.

After watching the cat for a few moments Rob cycled off leaving the beast to disappear in the direction of Cirencester.

The latest sighting near Waitrose is not far from previous big cat sightings. Last year the Standard published a CCTV picture of a large black feline taken not far from Rob's sighting.

Other sightings have placed it close to Siddington and Chesterton.

Danny Bamping, of the British Big Cats Society, said there have been more then 30 sightings in the area in the past six months, while Gloucestershire police confirmed they had also received some calls.

He said: "This sighting is very interesting for several reasons. Lion-coloured is sandy brown which is also the colour of a puma and they are alsatian sized cats.

"This could be a puma but it does not coincide with the video CCTV footage taken nearby as that was a black cat, and you don't get black pumas.

"We have had just a couple of sightings of 'big cats' sighted near or around the town centre of Cirencester - one of a black cat and one of a brown one."

Gloucestershire police confirmed three reported big cat sightings in the north Cotswolds in the past two months, two near Broadway and one near Chipping Campden.

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