A FLINTSHIRE cafe owner says he was confronted by a mystery beast as he locked up.

Robert Kardziz, who took over Billie Jeans in July, says the strange encounter happened on Sunday night behind the building.

The Leader:

Billie Jeans in Pentre Halkyn

Robert said: "I was locking up tonight and heard some commotion in the yard behind the cafe. I popped down and a hissing cat ran past me. It had been in a fight with another animal. It was dark and l thought it was a badger or something similar. As l got closer, the thing came into focus and snarled at me before it ran off into the fields.

"It really shook me up."

Are small but significant populations of big cats roaming North Wales?

Robert says the creature wasn't a domestic or feral cat, badger or a dog, and he is hoping someone can provide an explanation.

He added: "I thought what the hell is that? I couldn't tell exactly what it was, but it wasn't a badger and it definitely wasn't a dog. It made some odd noise and ran off - it jumped over the fence and there's quite a big drop on the other side. There were cattle in the field and they scattered.

"It was quite dark, it almost had the outline of a black lab or something like that, but the noise it made was a screech, it wasn't a dog.

"It was so quick, that I don't want to say it's this colour or that colour, but we did see something."

The Leader:

The creature was spotted behind Billie Jeans

Robert took over Billie Jeans in July and although not yet "having a fair crack of the whip" during lockdown, the cafe has proved popular, especially with lorry drivers and local police officers, when it has been able to open. Currently, due to the fire-break lockdown, the cafe can only offer a take away service.

Robert, who moved to Flintshire with his family about 15 years ago, says it is not the first time he has seen a mystery beast in the area.

The Leader:

Halkyn quarry. Picture: Lyndsey Pearce

He added: "Several years ago l spotted a big cat in Halkyn Quarry. It was a lot lighter then, and what we saw was a cat of some sort.

"I thought l had seen things all those years ago. I was ridiculed by family and friends. It’s real!"

The Leader:

The creature hopped over this fence and into the field

Actor and presenter Nathan Head, who hosts the five episode first series of Apparitions on Amazon Prime, says the British Isles has its fair share of cryptids, animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, from the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland to the Beast of Bodmin Moor in the South West of England.

The Leader:

Actor and paranormal investigator Nathan Head. Image: Don Jackson-Wyatt

Nathan said: "British big cats are possibly the most commonly-sighted cryptid in Britain, the earliest modern sightings date back to the mid 18th Century in Surrey and possibly the most famous sightings are those of the Beast of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall.

"Earlier in 2020 a large black cat was supposedly sighted somewhere on the Crib Goch ridge in Snowdonia but further back in the Black Book of Carmarthen, a 12th to mid-13th Century manuscript which takes the form of a dialogue between King Arthur and the gatekeeper of his court Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr, there is a Medieval Welsh poem called Pa Gwr which mentions a Cath Palug ('Palug's cat' or 'clawing cat') roaming Anglesey until slain by Cei.

"There's no solid evidence to explain exactly what these big cats are, some claim them to be remnants of the Ice Age, hidden away in the British countryside, or possibly some previously-unclassified sub-species of wild cat.

"The common explanations are usually pinned to an escaped panther or puma from a nearby zoo or safari park, or even illegally owned pets. In 1903 a big cat was sighted in Devon and later shot, its remains are stored in the Bristol Museum and it's since been identified as a pet Lynx that had somehow escaped captivity.

"It is indeed very possible that a big cat dwells in the fields and undergrowth of Pentre Halkyn, but until solid video evidence or photographs surface, it remains an unanswered question."