A TOURIST was left shaken up after seeing what he believes was a big, non-native black cat in Ambleside.

Jason Young was visiting the town's Roman remains with his partner when he says he saw the animal race past him.

"I just shouted that there was a large black cat," he said. "My partner thought I had seen a ghost!"

Jason, who is an asset manager from St Helens but regularly visits the Lake District, said he saw the cat chasing a deer near the rear gate of the remains on Saturday (July 23).

"We had gone to the water's edge near the remains and went to exit the rear gate. It was just as we exited the gate that I saw it.

"I saw this large black cat with a long thick tail," he said. "Not a domesticated animal, it was too large. It was fast. It was not a dog, it was definitely some kind of panther or something."

He said that the cat was close to the water's edge and was being followed by a larger deer, which he believes may have been the mother of the smaller deer.

Although his partner did not see the cat for herself, she did see the larger deer and Jason said that his startled reaction convinced her that it was a genuine sighting.

"There was a couple just in front of us but they were looking towards the lake," he said. "I am quite a laid back person. To see something like that on an average Saturday in Ambleside is quite unusual."

Mr Young said that it would not put him off visiting the Lake District in the future but that he would be more 'vigilant' when out walking.

The sighting follows another report on the 'Big Cats in Cumbria' Facebook group, with Conor Beatty claiming to have spotted a black panther on the A591 on his way to Grasmere, less than two weeks ago.

In the post, Conor said: "I didn't believe what I saw but it was unmistakably a large cat so I Googled it and came across articles about the beast of Cumbria which seemed to match what I had seen!"

Large non-native cats have been spotted numerous times over the years in places such as Kendal, Sizergh, Natland, Brigsteer, Sedbergh, Gatebeck, Farleton, Casterton, Witherslack, Levens and Grizedale.

One of the first sightings was close to Shap where a large cat had allegedly been sharpening its claws on a tree.