THERE are fears the fabled 'Beast of Burford' may be no more after a driver saw a 'puma-sized cat' dead on the side of the A34.

Olli Astley got in touch with the Oxford Mail to say on Thursday at around 4.30pm he was heading southbound on the A34, near Kidlington, when he spotted the creature on the central reservation.

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He described it as a 'puma/lynx-sized cat' which was 'black or dark brown'. 

Mr Astley, who was with his 16-year-old daughter, added: "We haven't contacted the council but it had been removed overnight and by 8.15am this morning (Friday) as we went to take a picture.

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He said he was 'sure' the animal was a cat due to its features but was far bigger than a normal pet feline.

The 47-year-old's description of the big cat is the latest in a long line of people going back to the 1990s to see what they swear is a big cat in west and north Oxfordshire.

Dubbed 'the Beast of Burford', the creature has in the past been sighted near the village of Upper Arncott, close to Bicester.

In one of the most famous sightings, a suspected big cat was photographed in a field opposite the Masons Arms pub in Burford Road, Brize Norton, in 2005.

The most recent sightings were further south with boater Michael Grainger, 72, and his wife spotting two ‘black panthers’ in a field by the water at Culham Lock in October, 2018. 

This prompted more readers to get in touch claiming they too had encountered a big cat. 

A Highways England spokesman said no dead animals have been reproted to the agency along that stretch of the A34.