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Last Updated: Monday, 25 August, 2003, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Big cat report sparks search
Police and wildlife experts closed a main road and carried out a land and air search after reports of a big cat in a Shropshire field.

Officers from West Mercia Police called in experts from the West Midlands Safari Park after the report from a member of the public just after 1000 BST on Sunday.

The caller reported seeing a large black cat in the fields behind the Travelodge at Bayston Hill in Shrewsbury.

The animal was described as panther-like, around two metres long with a long tail and had been spotted sitting in the grass.

Police officers sealed off the area until wildlife experts arrived and closed off the A5 bypass in the area.

A police spokesman said the road had been closed "in case the animal became startled and made a run onto the road".

A search on the ground and using the force helicopter lasted around 45 minutes but failed to find any sign of the big cat.

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