UK
27/08/2012 11:05 BST

Big Cat Sightings: From The Beast Of Bodmin To Coulport Cougar, Five Other Cat Tales

A police hunt for a lion supposedly stalking the crossroads of Clacton has had Britain on big cat alert.

Thermal imaging devices were deployed on Monday to find the predator and helicopters whirred over the countryside, while reports also emerged of a big cat sighting in the Cotswolds.

The search for the Essex lion has now been called off, but it's not the first time that a big cat sighting has caused a wild goose chase.

From the Cullen Corpse to the Beast of Banff, here are five other mindboggling big cat mysteries across the UK:

  • The Coulport Cougar

An off-duty Ministry of Defence police dog handler took a video of a cat he claimed was as large of a labrador in Helensburgh, Argyll.

Pc Chris Swallow took the video below in 2009, however a cougar-like cat has been spotted a number of times in the Coulport area since 2004.

  • The Beast Of Banff

A black panther-like animal was spotted by one visitor to the Banff links who caught the following footage during a New Year break in 2006.

The creature was described as being five feet long and three feet high according to the Banffshire Journal.

  • The Cullen Corpse

The splayed corpse of a big-cat type creature was spotted by a dog walker at a beauty spot earlier this year.

John Robertson, 50, was walking his two dogs along a rural path when he found the remains of the beast - the size of a large dog - with huge white teeth.

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The sprawled corpse of the fang-toothed cat

  • Beast Of Bodmin

The Beast of Bodmin is likely to be quite an elderly creature if it still is prowling the Cornish moors. Sightings of a fabled big cat-type animal date as back as 1999 and there was a resurgence of interest in Bodmin big cat in 2011 after strange claw marks found at Trewithen Gardens near Truro backed up a sighting of head gardener Gary Long. He glimpsed a "very large black cat-like creature" reported the BBC in June 2011.

beast of bodmin

What's new pussy cat? Although it looks like a well-fed domestic black cat, this animal caught in"video evidence" is the infamous Beast of Bodmin, the puma-like creature blamed for killing scores of sheep and causing havoc across the West Country.

  • Gloucester: big cats galore

The footage below was taken in Stroud in February 2012, but a flick through the proverbial big cat archives show that sightings in Gloucestershire are a semi-regular occurance. Four sightings of big cats have been recorded this year, with paw prints and deer killings contributing to cat tales.