Red Lodge panther report among Suffolk big cat sightings
- Credit: EDP © 2000
Big cats have been spotted in the region's fields, woodlands and villages, according to calls to Suffolk police.
New information released by the force reveals that officers have been called for assistance ten times over the last decade – with the most recent sighting taking place last month.
On November 12 officers were told to keep an eye out for 'two sandy-coloured black panthers' running by woods in Red Lodge after a call from a startled member of the public.
However, patrols in the area turned up a blank, and no further sightings of the animals were recorded.
There has been at least one call to police each year since 2009, with a spike in reports in 2004, when officers were notified of 'big cats' a total of four times.
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A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: 'It is rare that we receive these types of calls in the county, but if someone does believe they have seen a big cat they can contact police.
'If there is immediate danger we will respond, but often the sighting will be referred to other agencies such as the RSPCA.'
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The details of the Suffolk sightings were released by the force under the Freedom of Information Act and include every event in
which 'big cat' appeared in the log.
It is possible that each report, like the one in Red Lodge, referred to more than one animal.
Rumours of big cats in the region are not unusual, with sites such as the British Big Cats Society and Big Cat Monitor group reporting sitings in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
Perhaps the most famous report of a big cat came in August 2012 in St Osyth, near Clacton on Sea.
The so-called Essex Lion, which caused panic on a seaside caravan park, led to the scrambling of two police helicopters and more than
30 officers on the ground
in an operation that cost Essex police thousands of pounds.
The mystery animal was later identified as Teddy Bear, a large pet cat.