Map shows every big cat sighting in Norfolk over the past six years
- Credit: Archant
Figures have revealed that over the past six years Norfolk police has received nearly 60 calls from people claiming to have seen a big cat.
The information, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, showed that police in the county had received a total of 57 calls from 2010 to 2015. This is the highest number of any police force in the country with Suffolk just behind recording 26.
Calls ranged from a tiger lying in the middle of a Norwich road to a leopard walking through a Wymondham garage.
In August of this year there was a possible sighting of a panther in Saxlingham Nethergate.
Lee Norton captured photos of a 'Labrador sized cat' prowling across fields in the village and he said: 'I had no idea what it was but it was the size of a Labrador but it had a very, very long tail.'
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In 2013 police tweeted that they had reports of a panther prowling around near Martineau Lane in Norwich and in 2010 there were reports of a 'very large striped cat' resembling a tiger sitting in the road in Bradwell in May 2010. It turned out to be stuffed toy.
And in 2009 a man out shooting rabbits between North Walsham and Edingthorpe said he saw a big black panther-like cat and later found scratches 4ft high on a tree, near to where he spotted the cat.
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Despite being no proof of a panther on the loose in the county, or in other parts of the country, one theory is that several large species, such as panthers, leopards and lynx, were deliberately released into the wild by their owners in the 1970s after the introduction of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act, which placed restrictions on the keeping of certain species.