An alleged big cat sighting in Crystal Palace has sparked concerns in the community south east London is being prowled by another “Beast of Sydenham.”
Another resident has come forward with evidence a big cat could be on the loose, after a large “wild animal” - believed to be a puma or panther- was spotted by a journalist in woodland on Saturday.
The user of social networking site Virtual Norwood -were the sighting has been a hot topic - said for the past three months she had heard “a really disturbing animal sound” coming from backs of the gardens that back onto a green space in nearby Chevening Road and more recently from a wooded area at the back of Rockmount School.
She said in the past few days she had heard “distinct crashing and branches breaking” which must have been made by an animal larger than a fox, and she had even inquired whether her neighbours were keeping “exotic pets.”
The beast - dubbed the Palace Puma - was sighted on a path running through woodland parallel to Fox Hill by business journalist Helen Barrett, 41, who was out for a walk with her family.
They were so terrified that they fled from the “wild animal” - described as black and 5ft in length - after it approached them on a pathway between Church Road and Auckland Hill at 3.45pm.
The police were called and investigated the scene, but they have played down suggestions the sighting was a big cat.
Mrs Barrett said as a journalist she was naturally sceptical of any sighting like this, but she “knew what she saw” and because of the history of confirmed sightings in the area believed another big cat was now in the area.
Four years ago a hunt for a big cat - dubbed the Beast of Sydenham - took place in neighbouring Sydenham Park after a cat “the size of a labrador” allegedly attacked a man in his garden in the middle of the night.
A mass hunt for the beast by police armed with Taser guns took place after another sighting days later, this time by a police officer, but the beast was never found.