Villagers warned to be vigilant after black panther spotted on the loose in Scotland

On the loose – a black panther is thought to be on the loose in Scotland (Picture: Getty)

Police have warned people in two villages to look out for a black panther on the loose.

Police Scotland said they received a report of a suspected sighting of the panther in fields near the B730 road between the villages of Drongan and Coalhall, East Ayrshire, at around 8.45am on Friday.

Officers are trying to track down the animal and a police helicopter has been drafted in to help with the search, as well as an animal expert to confirm the identity of the big cat, which could be injured.

The force said: “Residents in Drongan and Coalhall are being advised by officers to be vigilant after a report has been received of a sighting of what is believed to be a black panther in the fields near to the B730 between the two villages.”

It added: “Officers are currently working to locate the animal which may be injured.

“The area is popular with dog walkers so care should be taken and if anyone sees the animal we would ask you not to approach it, but to contact Police via 101 quoting incident number 0780 of Friday 19 October 2018.”

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A spokeswoman said a thorough search of the area had been carried out on Friday morning but they had not been able to trace the animal.

Alistair Hill, animal rescue officer at animal welfare charity the Scottish SPCA said they had liaised with Police Scotland  but would not be getting involved as they are unequipped to deal with big cats.