Will Moore, a 54-year-old professional photographer, was employed by a German magazine to take pictures of the planes at this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. As he was winding down for the day, he saw a big cat slinking through a village just two miles from the base.
The cat was walking along a wall outside his accommodation in the village of Meysey Hampton; unfortunately, the photographer had taken apart his kit and was ready to step into the shower.
When he put his camera back together, the cat had disappeared. Although he desperately ran downstairs in his dressing gown and shoes to search for it, the cat had gone.
Moore and his hosts were so disturbed at the thought of a big cat threatening the visitors to RAF Fairford that they told the police. An officer interviewed him that night about his sighting of one of the big cats said to haunt the Gloucestershire countryside, with the photographer telling the policeman that he was shocked to see the huge beast at the end of the garden.
Chasing the big cat
He told the police he thought the body was roughly 1.5m to 2m long, with the tail adding another metre. The creature was walking along a wall about 35 metres away. As the photographer was in an elevated position on the first floor, he got a good look at it.
Moore reached for his camera but had removed the battery and memory card as part of his routine at the end of the day. By the time it was reassembled, the cat had gone.
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Moore explained that he rushed downstairs in his dressing gown to warn people that a panther had been seen. Although he went to look for it, it had vanished. Such a sighting is not uncommon; in fact, the Sun has compiled a list of such sightings.
The photographer has been rueful ever since that he did not get the money shot, which would have been the first clear image of a big cat roaming the British Isles.