A FOOD courier has shared a photograph of what he believes is a big cat crossing a meadow in Chester.

Richard Evans saw the mystery creature from the A51 near Barrel Well Hill and Mount Place at 3.45pm on December 13.

Chester and District Standard:

Image: Richard Evans

He reported the sighting to Puma Watch North Wales, a group set up to document and investigate such encounters.

Richard said: “I was out on my bike coming back into town after delivering someone’s McDonald’s when I spotted an enormous big cat across the river on the meadows. I pulled over to take a picture and tried to shout to a dog walker nearby but they couldn’t hear me.

“It was prowling along the edge of the long grass then disappeared into the undergrowth. It was absolutely massive though, like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

Chester’s meadows act as a floodplain for the River Dee and while surrounded by urban developments on three sides, they are contiguous with the fields and farmland south of the city.

Chester and District Standard:

Image: Richard Evans

Tony Jones, founder of Puma Watch, said: "While this is the first report we’ve had from Chester, we welcome reports from counties neighbouring North Wales and also get reports from Shropshire.

"While it did surprise us to get a sighting reported so close to a busy city centre, Chester's meadows are at least 0.5km wide and extend for miles to the fields and rural estates south of the city. They're also on the 'Welsh' side of the river so places like Pontybodkin, where we've had a few recent sightings, are just 10 miles away without having to cross the river or move through any populated areas.

"Since getting this report, we've learnt that in September 2011 someone called 999 to report a tiger in the exact same location. They were walking along the River Dee in Chester when they said a tiger had walked through a late and looked at them before disappearing off into the bushes. This wasn't made public until 2014.

"It's really hard to get a sense of scale from the photo, probably because of the distance combined with some motion blur on time animal. Potentially a 'low-light' mode has kicked in on the phones camera and the animal moving quickly while the photo was being taken has exaggerated the size it appears. Even so, I think if you compare it with other objects in the photo it looks to be about 2 or 3 metres long, we know the largest big cats grow up to 5 metres and a male, adult puma can grow to about 2.4 metres so while it does look huge, I don't think it's quite as huge as some have been suggesting in the comments we've had so far."