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Stamford man who claims to have seen a black panther on edge of town now photographs large pawprint

Updated: A Stamford man who claimed to have seen a black panther on Tuesday night returned the following day and took a photograph of a large pawprint.

Steve Kelly was so intrigued by the sighting that the following day he returned and managed to capture a photograph of a pawprint left by the creature.

He said: “This sort of thing really interests me, and I’m thinking of setting up a motion sensor infra-red camera in that area too, so who knows, if I could get a close up photo of whatever it really is, it could solve this completely!”

Pawprint photo taken by Steve Kelly, of Stamford (5030289)
Pawprint photo taken by Steve Kelly, of Stamford (5030289)

The father-of-four has since contacted BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham and is trying to get in touch with a university zoologist to find out more.

He believes the “large cat” is not a danger to people but added: “There is plenty of food supply available here, with deer, rabbits, sheep, and even domestic cats, which haven reported missing.”

He was walking his two dogs when he spotted the creature on Tuesday and says he was "taken aback".

Steve Kelly, who lives on Langton Walk on the Taylor Wimpey estate on the outskirts of Stamford, was walking his pointer Murphy and Labrador Pepper on the field nearby when he spotted the animal about 200m away.

He said: "It moved like a cat and was very graceful. It was jet black.

"I was just taken aback when I saw this creature. It was compelling to watch."

Jet black panther (4982922)
Jet black panther (4982922)

Prior to his sighting, at about 5.45pm tonight, Steve did believe that black panthers existed in the wild because his wife Emily saw a similar animal when the couple were living in Ketton about 10 years ago. She even reported the sighting to police.

He believes the animal to be "much bigger" than his beloved pets because of the distance it was away but when he tried to move closer, it spotted him and moved away towards a copse area.

Steve, an airline pilot, managed to capture a series of photos on his iPhone, albeit blurry, with Hanson Cement in Ketton visible in the background.

"As it saw us, it started to move very gracefully towards the corner of the field. There was no way I could have chased it and I was just scrambling to get my phone out of my pocket before it disappeared.

"I just couldn't believe it. It was fascinating."

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