Report from Danny Carr
Residents of a Renfrewshire village are claiming that a black leopard has been spotted in the neighbourhood.
Out walking near the primary school early on Monday morning, a resident of Lochwinnoch could not believe his eyes. A five feet long, black cat like creature stood before him.
It was in nearby woods that the mysterious creature was last spotted, locals say it ran in here and vanished without a trace.
Experts say it could be a black leopard, in the past year there have been more than 200 sightings in Scotland. Police are keeping an open mind, even using their helicopter to search the surrounding areas.
Superintendent Daniel Dyer from Strathclyde Police said: "We are trained to deal with anything and everything, if you are suggesting we require a serious cat squad its possibly something for the future."
Letters have also been sent home to parents of schoolchildren as precaution, a move which seems to have caused more excitement than concern.
One local said: "My daughter keeps an eye out, after she heard it she's always looking out of the window to see if its in our woods."
The beast is said to have left scratches and bite marks on cars. Reports say the creature is much larger than domestic cats, and is unlikely to come through a cat flap near you.
13 th November 2003
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