A "BROWN and tawny” animal was seen “bolting out across the road” in Chester.

The animal was seen darting out from trees in the middle of the Vicars Cross A55 roundabout, at around 6.45 am on Sunday morning.

The witness was approaching Chester having travelled from Nantwich by car to drop her son off at work when she encountered the creature.

She said the animal was “bigger than a fox” and “definitely not a fox or a dog.”

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

The witness said: “I was driving my son to work in Chester from the direction of Nantwich.

“I was at Vicars Cross Island with the A55 and a large reddish animal, the size of a Labrador, bolted from out of the trees on the island and across the road in front of me.

“It was bigger than a fox and had long powerful legs. It wasn’t a dog or a fox.”

Last week, another motorist reported spotting a suspected panther stalking sheep, just a few miles away near the M56’s Chester Services.

In April, a lorry driver spotted a big cat crossing the same road behind Costco Chester.

Tony Jones, founder of Puma Watch, said there was an increasing number of reports coming from the Chester area.

Closer to Vicars Cross, a big cat was spotted on residential streets near Chester Zoo back in February. This sighting occurred in the dead of night, around 2:30 AM, with the Zoo quickly confirming the cat reportedly prowling suburbia 'is not from Chester Zoo'.

"Chester has become a hotspot for big cat sightings, and earlier this year there was a succession of sightings in the Western half of the city. On Friday 16th April, someone spotted what could have been a puma near Blacon, at a location 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.

"These 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."

"Prior to this, on the other side of the city centre, a member of the public reported an encounter with a “growing and snarling” creature in Huntington’s Caldy Valley Nature Park, while in December, a big cat was caught on camera prowling Chester Meadows.