Sightings of big cats in Norfolk have tailed off, new figures reveal

PUBLISHED: 17:08 02 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:08 02 March 2020

Sightings of big cats, such as pumas, in Norfolk have tailed off. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Sightings of big cats, such as pumas, in Norfolk have tailed off. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2012

Sightings of elusive big cats, which scores of people have claimed to have spotted prowling through parts of Norfolk, tailed off in recent years, new figures have revealed.

For years, there have been rumours of creatures roaming the countryside, but a marked lack of evidence to prove it.

A Freedom Of Information Act request has revealed that Norfolk Constabulary has received 96 reports of big cat sightings over the past decade.

However, while the peak year for such sightings was 2013, when there were 19 reports, just one person called police last year to report that they had seen a big cat.

The FOI request, which was submitted to the police by a member of the public, asked the police for all reported big cat sightings since 2010.

The force carried out a check of all incidents which had been recorded over that period which included the keywords big cat, large cat, puma, panther, cougar, jaguar and lynx.

The bulk of the sightings happened in the first half of the decade, with 74 between 2010 and 2014. From 2015 until 2019 there were 22 - just four of which were in the past two years.

Among the more recent sightings were 2018 claims that a puma had been spotted in Diss and North Walsham.

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There was a 2017 claim that somebody had seen a tiger and cubs in Norwich.

And there were two claims that black panthers had been seen in King's Lynn in 2016.

In 2013 police tweeted that they had reports of a panther prowling around near Martineau Lane in Norwich.

Police were dispatched to a street in Norwich in February 2011 after it was reported a tiger was thought to be lying between two cars in the road.

That call followed a sighting in May 2010 of a very large striped cat resembling a tiger sitting in the road in Bradwell in May 2010.

Both tigers turned out to be stuffed toys.

Reports of a tiger sitting on the lawn at a Kings Lynn house in November 2010 also turned out to be false, with the officers who attended finding an ornamental tiger.

But the Eastern Daily Press can chart big cat sightings back further than that. In 1965, four men spotted a creature while shooting near Larling and in 1993 and 1994 there was a cluster of 'puma' sightings in south Norfolk.

MORE: Weird Norfolk: The Norfolk puma spotted at Congham

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