Report from Chris Smith
A mysterious creature, thought to be bigger than a dog, has attacked and killed a sheep on a farm near Peterhead.
Farmer James Fletcher found one of his sheep had been torn apart and its innards strewn across the field.
He said that he had never known anything like it, but it had certainly not been an attack by a dog or a fox.
The killing has added strength to the theory that a large, black cat is prowling around the Buchan countryside.
A so-called Beast of Buchan has been sighted on the outskirts of the Blue Toon on a number of occasions over the years.
The most recent recorded sighting was at the town's south entrance near the McDonald's restaurant, during the summer.
Wellbank Farm, where the sheep was found dead, is within the same area.
"I came out into the field at about 11.30 am on Saturday," said Mr Fletcher.
"I noticed one of the sheep was lying dead. At first, I thought it had been killed by a fox or a dog, but then I went to look closer.
"I had never seen anything like it. The sheep had been cut open - slit right up the middle of its stomach.
"The insides had been pulled out and were lying around the field, all chewed up.
"There was so much wool lying about you could have made it into a mattress. It looked like the sheep had been physically dragged around the field.
"Whatever had done this had to be fairly big and it was certainly no dog or fox.
"I have seen what they can do and it's nothing as bad as this."
He said that he had heard the rumours about Buchan's big cat, but had never seen anything of it until now.
Last year, Buchan welder John Aitken said that he had encountered a large, puma-like creature on two occasions within the space of a year near Fraserburgh.
One of the most famous of the mysterious beasts seen roaming the North and North-east in recent years was Felicity the puma.
She sprang to fame when she was caught in a baited trap on a farm near Inverness.
The tame animal lived at the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie, after being captured by Cannich farmer Ted Noble.
He suspected a wild beast after losing sheep and Shetland ponies and a trap set near his Kerrow farm was sprung on the morning of October 29, 1980.
Inside was the puma, who died in 1985. Felicity's body was stuffed and displayed at Inverness Museum.
In 1988, a leopard cat was shot near Jedburgh in the Borders and another was killed in Berwickshire the following year.
The so-called Beast of Buchan is thought to be one of 100 big cats which experts believe are roaming wild throughout the UK.
The Press & Journal: November 6 th 2000
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