A large panther-like cat has been spotted in Wolverhampton, alarming eye-witnesses who have warned local dog-walkers to be cautious.
Police are investigating the sighting in Wednesfield after retired union officer Andrew Hall alerted them to the potential danger. The 55-year-old was on the phone in his kitchen when he saw what he thought was a black bin liner stuck in a tree beyond his back garden.
"But as I talked I saw the shape move and realised that it was a living creature, about as big as a German Shepherd," said Mr Hall.
"People will probably think I'm a nutter but it was definitely a cat by the way it very tenderly came down the tree and arched its back."
Mr Hall, of Sundour Crescent, dropped the phone and ran into the garden, before dashing to get his camera to capture the creature on film.
"I realised dogs don't climb trees but by the time I returned I was too excited to press the right buttons on my camera so the pictures aren't that clear.
"It was such a shock. I went from excitement to fright the first thing I thought of was all the children and old age pensioners that live round here."
Mr Hall contacted the RSPCA who advised him to call the police. Two officers later patrolled the area. Mr Hall, who saw the cat last Friday, said a police helicopter then hovered over the area.
The grandfather-of-two described the animal as pure black with a tail about two-feet long in a tree behind shops in Blackhalve Lane.
When he told a neighbour, she said a dog walker stopped her about three or four months warning her to be careful on nearby fields.
"She said she'd seen a cat about the size of a large dog and was worried," said Mr Hall. "An animal could easily survive in the fields around here, there are plenty of rabbits and squirrels to feed on."