A CREATURE resembling a black panther has been spotted by the M40 near Stokenchurch.

The sighting has been reported by electrician Chris Newton, who told the Bucks Free Press he has now spotted a big cat there for the second time in a year.

The 48 year-old is convinced the animal he saw is a black panther.

He only told his wife about the first sighting, which occurred last year.

But his mind was made up to go public after his second astonishing encounter in November and having also discovered other people had witnessed similar creatures in the area.

Mr Newton, from Bournemouth, regularly drives through the Bucks stretch of the M40.

He said: “About a year or so ago at about 1am I spotted what I thought was a black bin bag on the hard shoulder, as I got closer it moved.

“As it moved I only caught a glimpse in the side mirror, but what I saw put a shiver through my spine.

“It was a very large black cat. I could see it also had a thick long tail.

“I knew straight away that I had just seen a black panther. There is no way that this was a large domestic cat.”

He said: “Then about two weeks ago, at around the same time in the morning, I was on the same stretch of road.

“As I drove past junction 5 for Stokenchurch, I again spotted a large black cat this time I could see it side on. And again I am in no doubt at all that this was a black panther. It was half way across the junction, looking at me as if I had startled it and it stood still.”

He decided to research big cats and discovered via the BFP website that there have been other sightings through the years of such creatures.

There was a notorious case in the Stokenchurch area in 1983 which made the headlines as armed police became involved in a search.

Earlier this year Beast of Bucks expert Paul Nicolaides said he is convinced there are a number of puma or leopard like creatures living in Bucks and surrounding areas.

Mr Nicolaides, who has been following sightings of big cats in Buckinghamshire for years, has stealth cameras positioned in different parts of the county, including Stokenchurch and Bledlow Ridge.

Conclusive evidence of a big cat living in the wild in Buckinghamshire has been elusive for those who have tried to find it but there have been numerous eye witness reports, Mr Newton's being the latest.