Suffolk beast spotted again

COULD Suffolk's beast, Claws be back on the move?The black cat has been sighted yet again on Foxhall Heath in Ipswich and follows a history of similar sightings over the last few years.

COULD Suffolk's beast, Claws be back on the move?

The black cat has been sighted yet again on Foxhall Heath in Ipswich and follows a history of similar sightings over the last few years.

Cindy Lucas, who lives just off Foxhall Road, was left shaken after she spotted the huge animal as she walked her dog on Sunday morning.

She claimed she has never seen anything like it and insists it could not have been an ordinary cat or dog.

Mrs Lucas, 43, said: “I was walking my dog through the trees when the area opened out and across from me, about 100 yards, was a very large black cat. It was really long, low slung like a cat but very, very big. It was a clear sunny day and the animal was in clear view.

“It moved round a large bush as I guess it was looking for food and then it moved out of sight.

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“I was shaking when I got home and told my friend about it. I have never been so frightened in my life.

“I walk the dog over the heath a lot because it is peaceful and secluded there but I won't be going there now.”

After speaking to friends, Mrs Lucas realised that there have been several other sightings of the animal in the area, including one who said they spotted a big cat in nearby Martlesham while shooting rabbits at night.

Latest statistics show that there has been a slight increase in the number of sightings across Suffolk and Norfolk.

She said: “All these sightings must be connected-it is too much of a coincidence. There must be something to it.”

Danny Bamping, founder of the Big Cats Society, said: “There has been a slight rise in the number of sightings in the Suffolk/Norfolk region in the last year.

“The reason is East Anglia is a very rural area and also a lot of people have these types of animals as pets - kept in private collections.

“For anyone who doesn't believe this, I would say look at our website-the evidence is there.”

He said that the UK used to have lynx as a native species but they have been extinct from the British Isles for approximately 1500 years.

If you have seen any big cat sightings - even if it was 10 years ago- the British Big Cats Society has a national and historic database where you can report these sightings. The website is www.britishbigcats.org.

Have you seen any sightings of the big cats? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

1996- Many sightings of what looked like a panther in the Foxhall Road area of Ipswich

1998- In May, two wildlife watchers on Holton St Mary saw a black cat running across the A12.

2000- Horse rider Suzanne Wallace saw a panther walking by the side of the road while she was out riding in Thorndon. Her horse, Olly, who was use to seeing dogs, froze at the sight of the large, black animal.

2003- In October June Fooks of Eye saw a cat bigger than her Labrador prowling in her garden.

2006- In early 2006 a panther-like cat was spotted near to Rushmere Heath and a few days later in the Foxhall area.

In November Jacqueline and Richard May, of Foxhall Road, were baffled after some unexplained giant paw prints were left in their garden.

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