For some unknown reason a rather run-of-the-mill sighting of an alleged black leopard was made to the local press on Wednesday 11th November 2015 and the report has proven popular with sceptics, journalists and believers alike. Either way, what actually happened between 8 - 9am on the 11th was hardly out of the ordinary when one considers the amount of 'big cat' sightings reported each year and evidence found. Sadder still, the websites which run the stories are often littered with people who seem to spend all of their lives waiting - with baited breath -for any story/witness they can ridicule. But anyway, this is the report:
""A delivery driver has described the moment a big black cat, believed to be panther, loomed up in front of him in a quiet village, sparking a police search and urgent warnings to parents.
Yesterday we reported how a school sent text messages to parents warning them there was a panther on the loose. Today we tracked down the man who spotted the cat.
Paul Turk, from Ditton, was so terrified when he saw the large creature in The Street, Ryarsh, on Wednesday morning he had to take a break at his next destination to calm down. Mr Turk, who works for Thomas Ridley Foodservice, said: “I saw the cat standing in the middle of the road. It was big, almost a metre high. It was jet black and had glorious green eyes.
“Initially I thought it was a black Labrador but as I approached in my lorry, I could see it was a panther. It had a long tail about as thick as a broom handle.
“As soon as I could see the cat was not in any hurry, I stopped the lorry about 30 to 40 yards away. I was in shock, panic, and the cat just stood looking at me for what felt like a long time. Then it just walked onto the side of the road.
“When I arrived at the school I was shaking and had to take a seat to calm down. Unfortunately I did not take a photo as I was too shocked.”
The incident happened at 8.15am - during the school run - and Mr Turk was so astonished he stopped a woman in a Volkswagen Polo, who had pulled over to let him turn on the brow of a hill, and warned her about the panther.
He then carried on to his next stop, a primary school.
A Kent County Council spokesman confirmed the shaken driver arrived at Offham County Primary School on Wednesday morning and raised the alarm.
Staff made him a cup of tea and leant him their phone to call police before alerting nearby Ryarsh Primary School, in Birling Road, and Trottiscliffe Primary School, in Church Lane, which both sent text messages to parents.
The message sent to Ryarsh parents said: “There has been a sighting of a black panther outside Brookline Coaches in Ryarsh. The police have been informed.”
A police spokesman said: “A search of the area took place but no such animals were located.”
Panther is the umbrella term for a number of large cats, including jaguars (pictured), leopards and pumas.
Experts say when big cats are spotted roaming in the UK they are most likely to be pumas, leopards or lynx."