A Skegness hotelier was shocked to find a tree outside his guest house had been ‘clawed’ by what he thinks looks like the markings of a very large cat.
Paul Groves of Clarendon Lodge in Castleton Boulevard, woke on Monday to find the trees nearby and one opposite, had a lot of the bark stripped off and scratch-type gouges six or seven feet up.
“The markings look like a big cat has done them, they’re unusual and if someone was intending to create a hoax, then it’s a good one,” Paul said.
Several of the trees leading to the beach have been damaged, with strips of bark pulled upwards and scratches all over certain areas.
“I spoke to Natureland but they said they couldn’t tell what it was and wasn’t an area they dealt with,” he added.
Paul thinks it’s a shame if someone has deliberately vandalised the trees but feels, the type and similarity of the markings would be hard to replicate.
“That is no domestic cat but I hope someone hasn’t been along attacking them,” he added.
East Lindsey District Council said it was ‘totally unacceptable and inexcusable’ if someone had damaged the trees.
And a spokesperson for Lincolnshire County Council, which holds responsibility for those trees, said: “Lincolnshire County Council condemns this vandalism and will work with the police to prevent any further incidents like this.”
But could it be the illusive Wolds Panther which has been something of a mystery for many years, with near sightings and elaborate tales?
The last time, a possible sighting of the cat was made, close to the Spilsby area, was in 2006 in Skendleby.
But a PSCO from Horncastle thought he’d solved the mystery after spotting a strange shape in the road in January 2010.
PCSO Keith Briggs was on patrol driving near Cadwell with his colleague Lorraine Dawson, at 1.30pm when he spotted a strange shape on the road.
With piercing black eyes, about two feet long with a one-and-half-foot tail, slick pointed ears and jet black fur, which he later passed off to be a black fox.
However, Lincolnshire Police wish to remind those who may have been responsible that it is an act of vandalism.
“This type of vandalism is not only very sad but it is a criminal offence and those responsible for such damage could find themselves in serious trouble. We would urge anyone who witnesses this unacceptable behaviour to contact us whilst it is happening so that we can deal with the offenders promptly,” a police spokesperson said.