Residents of Crich will no doubt find themselves increasingly alert as numerous reports of black panther sightings have circulated around the village.
Curator of Crich Stand Rita Harrison, 68, was the first person to spot the potentially menacing beast ago when she first moved to the area 3 years ago with her husband Terry.
She said: “When I first saw it I was looking out of the window into the garden, I was intrigued because the security light had come on.
“That’s when I saw what I’m certain was a black panther, initially I thought it was just a fox, as you regularly see them around at night.
“It was fairly large, long, slim and jet black.
“I screamed when I saw it as it really took me by shock, I called my husband over, but by the time he got to the window it had already trotted away.
“Although since that first occasion I have seen it once again, around six months ago.”
Rita isn’t the only local resident to have caught a glimpse of the big cat.
“One of the local farmers and a couple of other villagers who live nearby have also claimed to have also spotted the panther.
“We don’t particularly see it as a threat because unlike other cases of big cat sightings there has been no harm done to livestock in the area as far as we’re aware.”
Last year there were 45 recorded incidents of big cat sightings across the United Kingdom, which surprisingly averages at nearly one every single week.
It is widely believed that these predatory animals are found up and down the country as a result of once being former pets now released into the wild by their owners.