‘I spotted the Beast of the Bay’

North Bay Railway worker Steve Johnson points out where he is sure he saw a large black cat prowling this morning, while he was working on the platform at Scalby Mills. Picture by Andrew Higgins 121905a 07/05/12

North Bay Railway worker Steve Johnson points out where he is sure he saw a large black cat prowling this morning, while he was working on the platform at Scalby Mills. Picture by Andrew Higgins 121905a 07/05/12

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COULD a huge panther be prowling Scarborough’s North Bay?

A mysterious large jet-black beast has been spotted roaming around Scalby Mills.

The big cat was seen yesterday morning by Steve Johnson as he began work on the North Bay Railway.

Mr Johnson, 22, of St John’s Road, was tending to the miniature railway’s turntable when a strange creature loomed large just feet away in the undergrowth.

He said: “I had just got to the station at Scalby Mills to set up for the day and was stood on the platform.

“I was waiting for the turntable light to flash green and looked over into the bushes.

“There was a rustling and then a few birds started flapping and took off out of the trees.

“That was when I saw what looked like a big black cat.

“It was massive and I had to do a double take.

“I began doubting myself about what I saw, but I know it was a big and well-built animal.”

Mr Johnson said foxes and various other animals have been spotted on the line in the past.

However, he said the animal he saw was much larger than a domestic cat and also ruled out the possibility of the sighting being a well-known cat called Percy.

Percy, who is a black domestic cat, regularly travels on the line and is seen around the Scalby Mills area.

He added: “Percy travels on the train sometimes and we see him regularly from time to time.

“But this was so much bigger than him – it was like a massive version of Percy.”