A MAN and his daughter say they spotted a “big cat” in a garden on Monday.
John Bangs, 51, who runs a cleaning and maintenance business, says he saw the large cat-like animal at 6.15pm in his back garden in Brooke Road.
His daughter Hayley, 28, of Queens Road, spotted it out of the dining room window while visiting.
It was sitting in the garden about 30ft from the house, but when the pair went out to investigate the animal fled. They say it must have scaled the 5ft fence around the garden and gone into a neighbouring property.
John said: “At first we thought it was a labrador, because it was a similar size, but it was longer, and it walked like a cat. Cats have got a very specific type of walk. It was definitely a big cat of some type.
“It was odd to take in. It’s not the sort of thing you see at the end of your garden.
“We couldn’t believe our eyes, we were completely shocked.
John described its colouring as similar to a golden retriever and believes it may have been a lynx.
He said he had recently found a dead chicken in the garden and wondered if the big cat had anything to do with it.
No pawprints were be found.
Hayley said: “It’s a bit worrying because we normally let the kids just play in the garden but we will be keeping an extra eye out now.”
Nigel Spencer, joint founder of Rutland and Leicestershire Panther Watch, said: “It’s not the first time there have been sightings in Brooke Road but we haven’t had any in Oakham for quite a while.
He believes the description fits that of a puma, also known as a mountain lion because of its golden appearance.