Sightings of 'big cats' have been reported across Berkshire for years, with the potential of two beasts being out there - one of black colouring and the other sandy.

On Saturday, January 27, a woman was surprised to see a "large black cat" crossing the road in front of her car.

Since publishing her experience, this newspaper has been inundated with claims of further sightings of the 'Beast of Berkshire'.

William Keeble got in touch saying he has seen the large black cat "many times" but has not seen it for a few years.

"I grew up on a farm on a large country estate on the Hampshire/Berkshire border and my Father was the farmer there for many years," William said.

"We have both seen the animal in question. On more than one occasion I have been less than two metres away, on another occasion I was walking my dog through the estate and when we entered a field we came face to face with it and my dog gave chase."

"We did have sheep and occasionally we would find some attacked, we even found a large dog ripped to pieces once."

Laura Viney recalls a farmer who owned the sheep fields past Christmas Common being "beside himself" as he was losing so many sheep.

"Not a dog he said but a large animal...  from what was left of the remains that was his conclusion," Laura added.

She added that she spotted a "huge black cat cub" on the Ipsden Road last August.

"It wasn't a kitten as it was bigger than a Maincoon cat - jet black. But you could tell It was young - big and stocky, short black fur, huge paws."

Trevor North also reported seeing the animal in Chiveley on a dirt byway.

He said: "About 50 yards in there was a Puma-type cat chasing a bunch of deer. The noise of my truck disturbed the cat from chasing the deer.

"The cat casually walked away from us towards the tree line whilst keeping looking back at us.

"It was beige in colour and had a long tail. I don’t know whether it was a puma or not but it was a big cat that was going to take a deer down.

"I had a friend that knew the farmer out that way and said he’s spotted it also this was about five years ago."

Previously Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Reading, Dr Manuela González-Suárez said: "It is possible that somebody had a big cat as a pet and that that animal might have escaped.

"I don't think an animal could last on its own without being clearly identified and tracked down in an area like Berkshire for very long."

However, if there is a "big cat" out there and you happen to come across it, it is important to slowly back away and find shelter, whether in a vehicle or building - then notify the police.

Have you seen the 'Beast of Berkshire'? We'd like to hear your stories. Send any sightings to