Police called to five big cat sightings sparking Beast of Bodmin Moor fears

Police in Devon and Cornwall were sent to investigate five separate lion sightings last year without finding one as terrified locals reported phantom beasts.

The craggy morlands of the South West have long been associated with mythical monsters including the beast of Bodmin Moor and a large number of zoos in the area has meant there have been a lot of itchy fingers and false reports.

According to a Freedom of Information request sent to Devon and Cornwall Police brave coppers were sent to five ‘big cat’ sightings across the region last year.

In one hilarious report, police scrambled to South Molton, between Barnstaple and Tiverton after a panicked caller said they'd seen a lion.

Police attended the scene and checked with local wildlife parks, but it was found no lion had been reported missing reports DevonLive.

The police log entry in November last year said: “Caller believes he saw a lion around 20-30 minutes ago.

“Spoke to Exmoor Zoo and it’s not from there.

“All big cats at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park accounted for.”

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Another incident in August saw a caller report a black cat bigger than a Labrador dog which walked out in front of their car at Starcross, near Dawlish.

The log said: “Caller reporting a sighting of very, very large black cat which crossed the road in front of their car and jumped over a massive hedge.

“The cat was bigger than a Labrador dog. It jumped over a hedge that was at least 7ft tall.”

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There have been reports of big cats living wild in the countryside for many years, the most famous becoming known as the beasts of Bodmin and Exmoor.

One expert has claimed that an increase in sightings of big cats in the countryside last year was because they became bolder after lockdown.

However despite the increase in sightings, as the police records painstakingly show, there remains no proof of the elusive Cornish lions.

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