Big cat resembling a panther is spotted prowling in Milton Keynes woodland
A couple were shocked to see a huge panther-type creature chasing a terrified deer near a city estate.
Claire Evans was out for an evening walk with her partner along the brook that runs between Brooklands housing estate and Magna Park industrial area, close to Junction 14 of the M1.
"I walk this way at least once a day and have done for six, years and we have a wealth of wildlife including deer, foxes and rabbits. We see them all the time," she said.
"Our dog is very used to seeing them but she was acting stranger than normal, like she was aware of something, and was very alert, looking into the trees and bushes."
A moment later, a deer ran from out of the trees and bushes up onto the hill.
"We stopped and waited so as not to frighten it and watched until it disappeared. Then, from the same spot the deer came from, we spotted a large dark creature very low to the ground.. It pounced out and ran after the deer"
Claire said the creature was very long in the body and had dark-coloured short fur.
"It almost like a tortoiseshell pattern with a very long, thick rounded tipped striped tail. Its head was rounded just like a cat and it moved like a cat would that was chasing something.
"I would say it was the same size as a Labrador dog but much sleeker."
She added: "I just stood in shock and my husband looked at me. I said 'what was that? That was not a fox!' And he replied "No, that was a big cat'".
Claire's partner grew up in Africa, where he would often see big cats in the wild.
"He knows what they look like. If it was just me that saw it, I would probably question myself. However, the fact he also believes it was a cat confirms for me that indeed it was," she said.
The sighting was in the wooded area just behind Magna Park, a short distance away from Walton High school's Brooklands campus and Brooklands Community Sports Pavilion.
"The deer have been crossing the main road more than usual lately with four hit by cars in as many weeks. I wonder if they're trying to get away from it?"
Claire is kicking herself that she did not think to get a photo of the creature. But immediately after the sighting, which happened around 8.30pm, she posted about it on social media.
"A number of people posted to say they've had experiences in the area, with one lady saying she saw a fox fighting with an exceptionally large cat in Brooklands.
"It very exciting although a little unnerving as there are playing fields and a play area just a stone's throw away."
One person posted to report seeing a black cat bigger than a Rottweiler in a field near Potterspury.
"We've seen it many times.... At night you can see its yellow eyes," she said.
Claire, who is a psychic medium, has even called Woburn Safari Park to see if they were missing a big cat. They told her to report it to the police, she said.
Two years ago a wildcat expert revealed there had been five confirmed sightings of pumas in the UK and warned that a population of around 250 are breeding across the country.
Rick Minter, Britain's leading big cat tracker said he he has seen "conclusive" videos of the animals and also regularly receives reports of sightings of black panthers.
He told the Daily Star: “Some snippets of big cats have been caught on trail cameras or camera traps. Several of these are shown at my talks.
“There was one farmer coming away from a meeting and he showed it on his mobile phone. Absolutely 10 out of 10 quality video footage of a puma on his land. We came back jaw-dropping… but he was keeping it quiet and to himself.”
* Have you seen a big cat in MK? Please send us the details - and a photograph if possible.