A FARMER who has lost ten sheep to what he believes is a big cat has shared gruesome images of his slain and devoured sheep.

The farmer says he has found sheep from his Welsh Blacks flock with distinctive puncture wounds to the neck on land near Beddgelert in Gwynedd.

He has shown the images to big cat investigator Frank Tunbridge who has been on the trail of elusive beasts in Wales, Scotland and England for 40 years.

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Images of one of the dead sheep. The farmer says claw marks are visible on the skull and the animal's neck has been broken

Frank, of Gloucester, said the photos, along with scratch marks on trees and collected scat, lead him to be 90 per cent certain a big cat, or more likely a pair, are stalking the North Wales mountains.

He said: "You've got to be in the right place at the right time to see them, they can have a large territory. It's such a remote and wild area where not many people go, so there is nobody up there to see it. It's only when one causes a bit of a commotion by killing some sheep that it comes to light as farmers want to know want to find out what's doing it."

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The area were the cat is believed to be is remote

On the photographs and other evidence, Frank added: "Nothing else in my opinion could be responsible for it.

"To show that big cats are living and breeding in the UK, we need to show the three Cs. That is a captive one in a trap, that is physical evidence. The second, also physical evidence is a corpse - it one is hit on a road or a farmer shoots one, which is highly unlikely as they are very stealthy, silent, and avoid humans. The last one is close, scaled footage. Close up moving footage of a cat 20 or 30 feet away with a reference point."

As with all sightings, people always pose the question why, in an age of smartphones, has nobody taken a clear, conclusive picture.

Frank added: "That's the question I'm always presented with. I'll answer that. It's shock and awe. You don't expect to see a puma or black panther outside of a zoo or wildlife park. Fear sets in and you don't want to take your eyes off it. It's a predator that could cause you serious of damage. The last thing you want to do is raise up our phone and take a photo of it. People I've spoken to describe being frozen to the spot."

Not wanting to reveal his name or the location of the incidents for fear of people taking guns or dogs into the remote countryside, the farmer said he is convinced the sheep deaths are the work of a puma or other big cat.

He said he has seen sheep killed by a variety of other animals, and even other sheep, but he has seen nothing like this in his 50 years working the land.

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Experts say the North Wales mountains are a perfect habitat for some big cats like mountain lions

The farmer, who estimates he has lost £700 worth of stock, said: "It's so clinical, the way they have been killed. There's no ripping, it's just one clinical bite and they're dead.

"The sheep in the photo is a full-sized Welsh Black ewe, she'd be about 35-40 kilos. Foxes or badgers wouldn't get anywhere near them, they're too quick."

"And if you follow the neckline in looks like the neck has been broken, which is a typical cat kill. And with the land up here, you could trip over a cat and not see it.

"I've seen sheep killed by dogs, badgers, foxes, other sheep, and this is something different. This isn't a dog kill, a dog will rip the wool out and you'll see it all over the field. When you take away the logical, you're left with the illogical.

"If I know what I'm dealing with I can perhaps do something myself, but as it is I'm working blind to protect my sheep."

He added: "I'd like to get it captured and moved from there, to a wildlife park where it isn't doing any danger and won't come into contact with people, or at least to have someone to come and advise me how to stop it getting to my sheep."

The concerns follow a number of potential sightings of big cats in Flintshire, Denbighshire and Gwynedd.

Last week, Toby Matthews, a hypnotherapist living in Caergwrle, was walking his dog by torchlight when the beam landed on the shape of a big cat ahead of him.

The incident took place in the Wood Pit Nature Reserve between Pontybodkin and Llanfynydd.

Toby says he saw the creature on the old railway line through the reserve, which is in the middle of a dense wooded valley.

Last month, cafe owner Robert Kardziz encountered a strange behind Billie Jeans in Pentre Halkyn.

And this week, Chloe Green reported seeing a big cat in woodland near to Gwrych Castle in Abergele where I'm a Celebrity is currently being filmed.