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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 17:13 GMT
Police search after big cat seen
A big cat sighting by a policeman prompted officers into a late-night search near a Shropshire pub.

The officer called in colleagues after seeing "a very large black cat" near The White Horse in Dawley, Telford.

But the search by a "handful" of officers during the early hours of Friday found no trace of the beast.

It is the third sighting of a big cat within a week in the town, including one by two rangers who spotted a large cat in the nearby Town Park.

Pc Pete Simmonds, of Telford Police, said the off-duty officer had reported the sighting at about 0315 GMT.

This is one hell of a cat - imagine the cat-flap you would need
Pc Pete Simmonds

"They went down to have a look around but whatever it was had disappeared," he said.

The officer had said the cat was as high as a car bonnet, or Labrador-sized, with a long tail.

"A lot of websites say these sightings are very large domestic cats, but this is one hell of a cat - imagine the cat-flap you would need," said Pc Simmonds.

An earlier sighting of a large cat in the town was reported on 18 November and then the two rangers reported seeing a cat on 21 November.

Pc Simmonds said police were working alongside Telford and Wrekin Council and officers have been told to be vigilant while patrolling the area.

He also offered advice to anyone who spots a large cat.

"Animals will avoid contact with humans and generally flee," he said.

"Never approach one, stay calm and back away slowly, don't run."




SEE ALSO
Police warn of 'big cat' in hills
25 Nov 06 |  Mid Wales
Something wild in the countryside
12 Oct 06 |  Northern Ireland

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