Another addition to Britain's plethora of highly geographically specific big cats, the Beast of Trowbridge has been reported over several years from location around Wiltshire, including Trowbridge, Staverton and Westbury Leigh.
In August 2013, the beast emerged to be apparently captured on camera by Herbert Smith, who came across a mystery felid feeding in a field of rabbits. He told the Wiltshire Times of his 'astonishment' upon seeing the beast:
“Our first impression was sheer astonishment, we really could not believe our eyes at what we were seeing. The animal was eating what we believe it had just caught.
There was a lot of rabbits about so I expect it was having breakfast. I was about 20ft away from it whilst it was eating, it looked up at me for a couple of seconds then resumed eating. If it wasn't for my wife tugging at my arm to get me out of there, I would of stayed observing this magnificent animal.”
(We're deducting 10 housepoints for the editor who let the phrase "would of" slip into print under their nose.)
The Daily Telegraph repeated the account almost verbatim, but a sliver of scepticism about the identity of the animal in the photograph surfaced in their chosen title of "Beast of Trowbridge... or Alsatian?"
Less than a week later, the photograph was revealed to have actually been taken in Michigan in 2007. Big cat researched Danny Nineham expressed his dismay at the story to the Wiltshire Times later the same week:
"I know people thrive on stuff like this during the silly season but there needs to be an accepted level of trust between people. Unfortunately, the internet makes pranks like this all the more common and when someone does this it is a little soul-destroying as my work is genuine."