THE mauled carcass of a deer may be evidence of a big cat stalking the wilds of Worcestershire says the man who took this photograph.

Gareth Price, site operations manager at Countrywide at Defford Mill, Earl's Croome, near Worcester, says this photograph of the mangled carcass of an adult deer with a broken neck is further evidence that a big cat is prowling the countryside, hunting for prey.

The photograph was taken by Mr Price this morning (Tuesday) near his place of work but he also claims to have seen the large cat in the past.

A wildlife expert has said the animal is a male roe deer, not a rabbit as some of our readers are suggesting.

Mr Price also said something stalking the countryside has been known to upset the local dogs while the large cat had also been spotted by the late, former gamekeeper at Croome.

Mr Price said: "This a photo of a carcass that I came across on my way into work this morning.

"I live in High Green and stories of big cats are nothing new to us there.

"I work at Defford a short drive from High Green and this was in the field next to my work.

"It has been there no more than 24 hours and is an adult deer. It is about 20 feet from the road so cannot be roadkill. It also appears to have a snapped neck so has the hallmarks of a big cat.

"It is an adult deer so it would have to have been something quite big to catch and kill it.

"It is well known that there is “something” living around us and has been for several years.

"We have seen evidence of quite large prey being killed before (sheep and so on) plus it is a regular occurrence for there to be something prowling that upsets the local dogs.

"I have seen something when I walk my dogs around Croome although I couldn’t swear to it being a panther.

"It was definitely a very large cat of some description. My next door neighbour was the gamekeeper at Croome and often saw the animal on the airfield."

We sent the photograph to wildlife expert Bob Lawrence, head of wildlife development at West Midland Safari and Leisure Park, who said the kill looked like a male roe deer.

The photograph follows a sighting of an animal, described as considerably larger than a domestic cat, by university law lecturer Alan Davies at Bredon's Norton.

He also supplied photographs of paw prints from the mud nearby during the close encounter last Wednesday.

Only the day before Robert and Nicola Ingram saw what they described as a ‘black panther’ roaming the back lanes near Croome Court at 1am on Tuesday, just a few miles from Bredon’s Norton.

They were terrified the animal was going to smash its way through their car window before it sauntered past them, disappearing into the darkness.