A WITNESS claims to have seen a “massive” and “jet black” animal they believe was a puma in the car park of Chester FC’s Deva Stadium.

The encounter happened in the early hours of Tuesday, July 20.

The Leader: A "creature" photographed by Matty Rodgers.

The mystery creature was first seen through the building site fencing before it “slowly” emerged and “skulked” behind the stand.

The Leader: A "creature" photographed by Matty Rodgers.

It was then the witness Matty Rodgers had just a few seconds to take a closer look at the creature and take a photo.

In his report, he told Puma Watch North Wales that what he saw was “undoubtedly a cat” because of its shape, colour and motion.

The report said: “On my way back from work very early in the morning, just after daylight.

“Walking past the football ground I saw something big skulking behind the building site, way down the far end by the fields.

“I watched from the road for 20-30 seconds, until it emerged and was clearly a big cat. It was too big to be anything else like a dog or a fox, and the wrong colour, it was jet black like a puma, despite it being a bit dark still this was clear to see.

“It skulked along like it was watching something behind the stand, moving slowly but with movement that was undoubtedly a cat. I got a photo where you can just make it out before it went out of view, either behind the stand or into the field behind the hedge.

“It was only in the open between the building site and the stand for about 5 or 10 seconds but I am certain of what I saw.

“I was tempted to run across the car park and see if I could spot it again but it’s probably for the best I just walked home as it was massive although I guess it wouldn’t have let me get closer anyway, unless I accidentally cornered it, but f**k that it was massive.”

A few days before Matty’s sighting, a “brown and tawny” big cat was spotted on the other side of Chester.

Tony Jones, founder of Puma Watch, said although the group was set up to investigate encounters in North Wales there have been an increasing number of reports from the Chester area.

Tony said: "The city is a hotspot for big cat sightings, with multiple clusters occurring over the last year. This includes one occasion where an animal was caught on camera on Chester Meadows by a delivery driver.

"Also this month, we shared a report of another motorist spotting a suspected panther stalking sheep, just a few miles away near the M56’s Chester Services. And back in April, a lorry driver spotted a big cat crossing the same road behind Costco Chester.

On Friday, April 16, someone spotted what could have been a puma near Blacon, at a location well under a mile from four other recent sightings. Just along the canal to the North, a large, black animal with a very long tail was spotted twice within a week, around the abandoned Old Oaks Golf Course and the Countess of Chester Country Park.

"These sightings followed a 4ft-long cat “with a great big tail” being spotted twice in one night in fields bordering Blacon, behind Sealand Road Asda."

"Prior to this, on the other side of the city centre, a member of the public reported an encounter with a 'growing and snarling' creature in Huntington’s Caldy Valley Nature Park, while in December, a big cat was caught on camera prowling Chester Meadows."

However, not all reported sightings are genuine.

In April, Puma Watch exposed a photo of a big cat in Grosvenor Park in the city as a hoax using an image of Chester Zoo's jaguar Goshi.