MORE people have come forward to speak about big cat sightings in the Cotswolds, including a woman who fears the animals could harm someone.

Last week the Standard reported two recent sightings of black panther-like creatures near South Cerney and in land in front of Cirencester’s Roman amphitheatre.

This prompted Cirencester’s Betty Carroll to report her big cat. encounter.

Mrs Carroll, a barmaid at The Jubilee 77 Social Club in Cirencester, explained that she was being driven back from work by her husband Bernard late one evening last year when they came across a big black cat on Cranhams Lane.

She said that after seeing a deer leap over a wall and then bolt across the road into woodland, they noticed a puma-like creature appear behind the animal.

She said the cat appeared in front of the car and glared into the headlights for several seconds before sprinting in the direction of the deer.

Mrs Carroll said: “When I saw it I thought, my God, what if somebody was walking over the road.

“My concern is whether it is a danger to people and that it could run into where there are houses nearby.”

But Cotswold big cat expert Rick Minter (pictured) said that it was unlikely the animals would pose a risk to people. He said: “They don’t take risks, they are not stressed and have abundant food. They might only become aggressive if we made them so, and there are rarely any issues from black leopards and pumas in their native countries.”

On January 21, Fairford resident Sue Ward said she saw a big black cat the size of an Alsatian when she was walking her dog Bailey. The animal was in a field owned by charity The Ernest Cook Trust, off Hatherop Road, near where the road joins with Hatherop Lane.

Have you seen a big cat? If so, email bmc@wiltsglos