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November 19th 2003
The Wednesday sighting
Mark Fraser.Mark Fraser from 'The Scottish Big Cat Society' and Terry Dye write about an exciting Wednesday evening in Horncastle.
Mark looking throught the image intensifier
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WATCH/LISTEN
Listen to what Brian Murphy from The Scottish Big Cat Society has to say about big cats in Lincolnshire and the UK here >>

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Scottish Big Cats Society

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HAVE YOUR SAY

Have you seen the Lindsey Leopard? Or have you managed to take a picture of it?

Have your say, e-mail lincolnshire@bbc.co.uk

SEE ALSO
Big cat watching in the Wolds

Chris Mullins' big cat watch diary

Mark Fraser and Terry Dye's diaries

Sightings of Big Cats in Lincolnshire

The White Cat

Lindsey Leopard - Where are you?

Puma sighting around Lincolnshire

Time - 22.40hrs

Off Boston Road, in the field adjacent the sewage works on the outskirts of Horncastle.

The caravan.
Where the footage was taken

Myself, Chris Mullins, Brian Murphy and Terry Dye who had just joined us that evening about an hour earlier were actually sat in the home of Sandy & Julie Richardson who recently took the footage of the large cat in the caravan in Hemingsby, Lincolnshire.

Julie's phone rang at 22.10hrs and she answered it to a very excited person who had just seen a very large black cat on the outskirts of Horncastle at around 22.00hrs. She described as big as a fully grown Labrador with a long sweeping 'S' shaped tail.

The four of us decided to go and have a look for ourselves straight away. I got in the passenger seat with Terry and Chris drove his car with Brian, we had communication between the two cars via walkie talkie radio's.

After a couple of wrong turnings we finally managed to find the right road and the sewage works, having passed the works we turned in a lane. As Terry negotiated his three-point turn the headlights hit a very large black cat running across the field towards tree's against the sewage work's fence. I shouted for Brian and Chris who was in the car behind, and who for some reason shot on up the road towards the sewage work's gates?

The cat was about as large as a fully grown Alsatian, I personally didn't see the tail. I agree with Terry when he said "black almost fluffy or long coat. No other details were seen, although I think the distance we were away from the cat was a fair bit further then 20ft, my estimation was maybe three times that distance.

Mark Fraser.
Mark Fraser from the Scottish Big Cats Society

I wasted no time and actually jumped out of Terry's car and into the field after this big black cat, I wanted to know what it was and after 15 years of investigating other people's sightings, this was my chance. I ran down the side of the tree's and bushes were the cat was last seen heading. I stopped half way down the field thinking that the animal must have gone away out of view by now. I turned round and the torch beam caught two dull green / yellowy eyes belonging to the cat that was sat on it haunches looking at me. I half thought it was an amused or bemused look, but quickly brushed that aside. It was about 15 -20ft away obscured by foliage as the eyes peered out at me. At that point Brian came on the radio asking what's happening. I calmly told him that the cat was sat watching me at a spitting distance away, I don't think he realised what he was saying but after a few expletives he got the message. The cat was about 2 and a half feet high at this point and seemed to have lost its rough look and appeared sleek, calm and knowing!

I slowly (some say foolishly, but I knew this was no leopard) walked towards it in an arc, straying a little further out into the field so I would not come too close. But on my walk down I must have passed it at a distance of 2ft when it stopped to watch me. The cat must have ducked down and slinked away under the fence into the sewage works, because it was there and then in the next instant it wasn't. But my attention was distracted by the noise of the walkie talkie and it could have made its escape in one of those moments.

I had lost it and I returned to the cars and my three comrade in arm's who never once ventured off the roadside! We scoured the area for another 15 minutes and then returned to the scene of the sighting. Again on my own I went into the field to look for any tracks the cat may have left behind, but in the darkness on my own I found nothing. We then returned to Hemingsby and the hospitality of Sandy & Julie.

The next day having returned home we learned that video footage had been taken a couple of hours earlier in the same area outside of Horncastle, at this point I know nothing of the footage or what it shows. This cat certainly was busy this evening showing itself at least three times that we know of. But as Chris Mullins pointed out it was bin night, no wheelie bins in the area just black bags. Hundreds of them lined along the roads and street's!

What was it I saw, I do not really know, I know it wasn't a leopard or a puma but I believe I saw the cat locals dub the 'panther of the Wolds' or the Lindsey leopard' and I also believe that this was no mutant domestic or feral cat either.Its the second time we have been in the area and it will not be the last, its certainly interesting and a hotbed of activity for this mystery feline and it needs further investigation. My appetite has been whet!

As a postscript: although we had been walking round all week with cameras, video cameras etc, when I saw that cat I never once thought of a camera or a photo, it never even entered my head!!!

And yes Sandy........it is those eyes:)

Terry Dye's Account.

Hi all, Yes I am the man with the slogan "Take care and take a camera" but on Wednesday after the tip off by phone we had passed the Sewage Works that was the sighting map point and were thinking of going back to see if anything was lurking. I attempted a 3 point turn in the road. It was a main (If small) road and as I turned 90 degrees we saw a Big Black Cat in the field not 20 feet away in the headlights. As it moved away Mark (Fearlessly?) jumped out and went after it along by some trees next to the Sewage works. I straightened up the car and joined him along with Chris Mullins and Brian Murphy who had also "Parked" on the roadside. (There were a few cars belting up the road every now and again so we had to be careful) The ground was just dirt and flat but we saw no prints on the hard earth.

In the meantime Mark was now way down the field in the dark searching for it. Apparently he had walked past it and it was behind him. We lost it then and we all decided to go round the other side of the works. We went into the driveway but could go no further due to the fence and barbed wire on top.

On returning to the original sighting we found a lane nearly opposite where we again parked. Mark was off into the darkness again with my 2mill candles torch. (His battery was flat). By now it was about , I think, approaching 2300 to midnight ish.

There was no opportunity for a photo to stand any chance of getting anything in the dark and anyway as the man said I had my hands full of steering wheel at the crucial moment.

With hindsight looking at the roadside there was NO ditch so I could have driven straight at it over the field and chased it but we didn't know this at the moment of sighting.

There will be a next time. We must get more prepared.

Full marks to Mark for trying so hard and bravely.

My opinion of the cat is that it looked just like the cat in the caravan. It was just like a domestic cat. Black almost fluffy or long coat but as big as an Alsatian dog. And we saw it live at about 20 feet so it was not the camera lying or a bad photo. It was definitely a BIG BLACK CAT.

Terry.

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