ANOTHER sighting of a big cat has been reported - this time lolling around in a tree in Coopersale.

The latest sighting was made by 12-year old Joe Campling and his cousin, Dean Campling, 11, as they were driven to a friend’s house by his mum Kay.

The family, from Mowbrey Gardens in Loughton were waiting to turn on the corner of Epping Road and Coopersale Common shortly before 6pm on Friday March 20 when Joe raised the alarm.

His Mum, Kay Campling said: “He suddenly grabbed my arm and said ‘Oh my God’, while looking out the window, he was getting really excited and said there was an animal in the tree. But we’d already turned onto the road and I didn’t see it.”

Joe told Mrs Campling that he and Dean had seen a large black cat sitting in a lower branch of the tree with a curled tail.

She said:”He told me it was about the size of the front of our car and had a square head and long tail.”

Mystery remained over what the animal could be until a subsequent visit to the zoo.

Mrs Campling said: “We went to the zoo and he started pointing to the big cats and saying that was what he had seen - he was pointing to a Panther.”

She added: “I’ve never taken a lot of notice of the stories, but two years ago my husband was picking up a friend from Copped Hall Estate, and he also saw a large ‘panther’ creature.”

“If people know its out there, why aren’t they doing anything to catch it? Its quite dangerous, if there was a child wandering round there it could have been much worse.”

The number of reader’s sightings of what some have dubbed ‘The Beast of Ongar’ - most commonly described as a large cat or panther-like creature- have risen dramatically in the past few weeks with reports from Toot Hill and Theydon Bois.