A BIG cat sighting near Ellesmere Port has been reported just days after a similar encounter near Chester.

The witness saw a “large but slender” black big cat “with a long tail that it carried quite high” at Ince Marshes, close to Ellesmere Port’s Stanlow oil refinery, as he was on his way to work.

He spotted the creature at approximately 7.30 am on December 16, just three days after a food delivery rider took a photograph of what he believed was a big cat on Chester Meadows.

Both sightings were reported to Puma Watch North Wales, a group set up to document and investigate big cat sightings in the region.

The witness to who reported the Ince Marshes sighting said: “I reported for work that morning. It was dark still and the area I was heading to is undeveloped open space alongside Grinsome Road.

“As I approached the work area, [I saw] a large but slender animal with a long tail that it carried quite high. It was travelling quickly but I got the impression it wasn’t at full speed. It had a longish gait or stride pattern.

“It either didn’t see me or ignored me. I was less than 30m from it. I don’t believe that it was a dog.

“There was nobody else about and there was no traffic in or around the site. I followed the route of the animal for 50m but I didn’t see it again."

Later that day, he found and photographed a paw print.

Chester and District Standard: Paw print found on Ince Marshes.Paw print found on Ince Marshes.

The paw print

He added: “Later that morning, I took the attached photo of a print in a location some 300m from the sighting. It may not be connected of course.

“The site is teeming with wildlife and many ecology areas are to be constructed during development. Badger setts and the like are protected and other species habitats are too."

Chester and District Standard: 'Big cat' sighting in Chester by Richard Evans. Image: Richard Evans/Puma Watch North Wales'Big cat' sighting in Chester by Richard Evans. Image: Richard Evans/Puma Watch North Wales

Big cat sighting near Chester. Image: Richard Evans/Puma Watch

Three days earlier, Richard Evans saw a mystery creature crossing Chester Meadows from the A51 near Barrel Well Hill and Mount Place.

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.”