Photos of large pawprints are new evidence of St Albans big cat

PUBLISHED: 13:19 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:28 14 June 2017

Is this further proof of the Hertfordshire big cat?

Is this further proof of the Hertfordshire big cat?

Archant

Large feline prints may be even more compelling evidence of a wild cat roaming around St Albans countryside.

Is this further proof of the Hertfordshire big cat? Is this further proof of the Hertfordshire big cat?

Wheathampstead local Stuart Braggs, 50, was playing golf on the Aldwickbury course earlier this month when he noticed something “bizarre” by one of the bunkers near the clubhouse.

Animal footprints almost as large as his palm lead in long strides across the pit - preserved in the wet sand after a rainy morning.

He said: “We took photos and carried on playing golf, but I was then aware that some large cat had been walking there, which puts you a little bit on edge.”

“There’s no way it was anything else but a cat, it’s definitely something reasonably large.”

Stuart has been following the story of the mysterious beast of St Albans and would love to see the infamous creature in the flesh: “I am convinced the creature is out there and hope it continues to live safely and secretly amongst us.”

Five people Stuart knows have witnessed the cat but when he first told family and friends they were disbelieving, thinking the photo was a joke.

Only about a week before the sighting, Stuart had been talking about eyewitness accounts of the big cat in the pub and he wrote a poem inspired by them, called Panther - he said it was like the boy who cried wolf.

Eyewitnesses have come forwards in droves to report big cats sightings around Hertfordshire - in January two Oaklands College staff members saw “a large, sandy-coloured cat”, huge scratch marks were found on a tree after a “huge animal” was seen near Welwyn, and a big black cat was spotted by Luton Airport last year.

A dog-walker recently found the mutilated corpse of a muntjac deer near Wheathampstead, and a Freedom of Information request from the Herts Advertiser revealed Herts Police have received about 30 big cats reports in the last five years.

Police advise a safe distance is kept and any sightings are reported on 101.

Stuart’s book Poetry on Mead, which features his big cat piece, is coming out next month, and all proceeds are going to charity.

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