A MAN returning home from work has reported spotting what they believe to be a puma or panther on the a Chester estate.

Alan Standing was crossing the canal while walking home from work near the police station in Blacon when he encountered the mystery beast.

There have been several sightings of the Chester big cat or "Blac Panther" in the area in recent weeks.

Alan reported the sighting to Puma Watch North Wales, a group set up to investigate such encounters that has been getting an increasing number of reports from the Chester and Ellesmere Port area.

Alan said that he was "walking home from work over the canal bridge when I spotted a black, sleek, long-tailed animal coming out of the bushes alongside the canal".

He said the animal he saw was "too big to be a dog" and was "heading upwards along the canal".

He added that it was too far away to attempt to get a photo on his phone.

The number of sightings in the area recently has let to a big black cat being added to the Lego Chester display in the city's market.

Tony Jones, of Puma Watch, said: "The sheer number of sightings on this side of Chester lately leads us to believe there is at least one big cat lingering in the area. Local community groups have done a fantastic job bringing wildlife to the area in and around the new Countess Country Park, including the adjacent Wetland Centre and abandoned golf course, and to have a big cat attracted to the area already shows what a fantastic job they've done revitalising the local ecosystem.

"The location is well under a mile from four other recent sightings. Just along the canal to the north, a large, black animal with a very long tail was spotted twice within a week, around the abandoned Old Oaks Golf Course and the Countess of Chester Country Park.

"The sightings followed a 4ft-long cat “with a great big tail” being spotted twice in one night in fields bordering Blacon, behind Sealand Road Asda."

The "Blac Panther" joins the "Puma of Pontybodkin" - the name given to the creature sighted several times in the Pontybodkin and Pentre Halkyn areas of Flintshire.