A MAN “out drinking” at Chester Market claims to have spotted a big cat on the roof of an adjacent hotel.

The incident, reported to Puma Watch North Wales, allegedly happened at around 7pm on Saturday, September 3.

James Davies said he had left the market to use the toilets in another building when he looked up to see an animal “sniffing around” behind a short wall.

He says it lifted its head to look back at him, at which point he could see it looked “exactly like a puma”.

The animal immediately turned and ran, but James was able to capture a photo as it did so.

He told Puma Watch: “I was out drinking with the boys in the market in Chester. You have to go outside and into another old building to get to the toilets, and when I went around the corner where the toilets are, I spotted something moving on the roof opposite that made me look up from my phone.

“It was sniffing around behind the back of the wall so at first I thought it was a dog on the roof for some reason. It must have heard me because it lifted its head and looked down at me, then immediately turned and ran away.

“I ran to the corner and looked along the roof towards the car park but there was no sign of it, it had disappeared.

“When it looked at me I could clearly see it was a cat of some kind. It was far too big to be a dog, it had short pointy ears and yellow eyes and its face looked exactly like a puma. The evening sun caught against its coat and I could see it was quite silky, like a cat, and it had a big curling tail.

“As I was already holding my phone I managed to get a photo but not until it had started to run away. I then went into the toilets and went inside to show the boys, they were sceptical but one suggested I send you the photo.”

Puma Watch North Wales was founded to investigate such sightings in North Wales, but it has been getting reports from Cheshire and the Wirral.

The latest sighting has been added to the group's interactive map

Puma Watch founder, Tony Jones said: "A few months ago, a motorist spotted an animal matching the same description just a couple of miles away on Sealand Road. It’s one of many similar sightings around Chester in recent years.

"Chester has become somewhat of a hotspot for big cat sightings, with multiple clusters occurring over the last couple of years. This includes one occasion where an animal was caught on camera on Chester Meadows by a delivery driver.

"Last year, we shared a report of another motorist spotting a suspected panther stalking sheep, just a few miles away near the M56’s Chester Services. Additionally, a lorry driver spotted a big cat crossing the same road behind Costco Chester.

"Just a few weeks ago, big cats were spotted in rural Cheshire at Bickerton Hill and Bunbury. And towards the end of last month, a lynx was reported sitting at the side of the A550 Welsh Road.

"A suspected big cat spotted on Chester Meadows in 2021

"Last year and not far from the sighting reported today, 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."