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Big cat sighting in Hampton near Herne Bay

By Jodie Nesling

A huge ‘wild’ cat has been spotted prowling near a popular children’s play park.

The large lynx-like animal was seen walking beside bushes by stunned onlookers in Hampton, near Herne Bay.

Maria Parkhouse says the size of the cat took her breath away, comparing it to “like something out of a movie”.

A lynx at Wildwood. Picture Dave Butcher

A lynx at Wildwood. Picture: Dave Butcher

“I was driving along Hampton Pier Avenue when I saw a family pointing into some bushes,” she said.

“I was intrigued so pulled over and saw a huge silver/grey cat with unusual markings and a distinctive face. It was so different to anything I have ever seen.

“The size of it took my breath away. There’s was something about the ferociousness of its face. It was like something out of a movie.”

The 48-year-old from London quickly pulled over to try and snap the beast.

Maria Parkhouse was among those to spot the big cat in Hampton

Maria Parkhouse was among those to spot the big cat in Hampton

“I parked up to take a photo,” she said. “It was about 10 metres away from me at that point and looked gnarled, like it had been out in the wild. Its fur was matted. It was 60cm tall and a metre long with sharp features.”

Unfortunately the cat darted back into the bushes before the mum-of-two could take the snap, leaving her desperate to identify the animal.

“I got home and started Googling to see what it could be,” she said. “It looked like a cross between a bobcat and a lynx, but probably more the size of a bobcat.

The big cat was spotted near Hampton play park. GoogleStreetView

The big cat was spotted near Hampton play park. GoogleStreetView

“I am wondering if there have been any other sightings. I have never seen such a huge cat and wonder if there have been any pet attacks locally.”

Nature park Wildwood - which houses lynx, wolves and bears - is just three miles away, but no animals have been reported missing.

Park boss Peter Smith was quick to reassure the public.

A lynx at Wildwood. Stock picture

A lynx at Wildwood. Stock picture

He said: “Lynx can look scary but there is nothing to fear as no humans, including children, have ever been attacked by one in the wild.

“The Wildwood Trust is dedicated to releasing lynx back to appropriate places in the UK and is part of efforts to reintroduce them to Northumberland.”

Have you seen the Beast of the Bay? Call the news team on 01227 475985.

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