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  1. ITV Report

Spotted: 'big cat' in Gloucestershire

There were armed police, there were helicopters, but this was not a man-hunt, it was a lion hunt.. in rural Essex. One, which was quickly stood down when it turned out to be a large moggy which had caused all the fuss.

But claims that big cats roam the countryside are not new? And another has come to light in this region. This picture was taken on a remote camera in a wood near Stroud.

A 'puma like' animal in woods near Stroud Credit: ITV West

You can compare the scale by looking at this roe deer on the same camera.

A roe deer in the same woods Credit: ITV West

The person who took it wants to remain anonymous, but big cat expert Frank Tunbridge says he thinks it’s definitely a puma-like animal.

Frank has spent years trying to prove that big cats are on the loose in our countryside. His hopes were raised recently when the carcass of a deer was found on National Trust land near where this photograph was taken. The deer was sent for DNA analysis to Warwick University to see if it had been attacked by a big cat but the results came back as fox DNA.

The West Country has a long tradition of beast sightings. Indeed, no moor is complete without one. There's been beasts - or something similar - seen on Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor and Exmoor. And while the search for definitive proof remains elusive, the mystery continues

Frank Tonbridge says his aim is to get that proof, so that he can show once and for all that puma sized cats roaming our countryside are fact, not fantasy.