AS the nights get darker you may be forgiven for thinking you have seen something lurking in the shadows.

For some, these include believing that a puma or similar big cat has been spotted.

Over the years there have been several sightings of 'big cats' prowling around the Worcestershire countryside.

Whether they are urban legends, large domestic cats or people have genuinely seen a panther - we will never know.

Whatever the truth, big cat sightings have continued to intrigue people across Worcestershire.

Here are a few of the sightings from the archives - are these big cats still out there?

Powick - 2019

Worcester News:

Sally Williams and her son, Steve, spotted what they thought to be a puma in the grounds of St Peter’s C of E Church, in Powick.

Steve even captured a video of the large cat roaming around the churchyard.

He added: “I was a little unnerved by it, and just a bit shocked. My mum was a bit scared.”

Could it still be stalking around Powick?

Earl's Croome - 2016

Worcester News:

This was a story backed up by an expert after a sighting of a big cat was followed by reports of deer being eaten by a suspected big cat.

Robert Ingram, wife Nicola and a friend, had been driving through back lanes near Croome Court at around 1am in March 2016 when they saw a "gigantic, muscular beast" rising as high as their car window.

Several mangled dear corpses were then discovered in Earl's Croome which Rick Minter, author of 'Big Cats: Facing Britain's Wild Predators', said showed several of the hallmarks of a big cat having eaten the carcass.

He believed it was a melanistic (dark-coloured) leopard, the official name for one form of what is popularly known as the 'black panther'.

Welland - 2015

Andy Richards and his son were camping outside The Marlbank Inn at Welland when they saw what they claimed to be a big cat.

At first they believed it to be a black Labrador but said as they got closer they realised there was a "massive black cat with yellow eyes" staring at them.

"We just legged it but I so wish I had taken a photo of it," Andy said.

Welland is definitely a popular area to see big cats.

In 2009, Karen Allison of the group Big Cats in Britain said: "The most common area to see big cats in Worcestershire was on the Malvern Hills, especially near Little Welland."

Bromsgrove - 2017

Worcester News:

A pensioner claimed to have spotted a black panther while walking home from the shops in Bromsgrove in 2017.

David Wherton, 68, said he stumbled upon a “muscular” cat-like creature walking down a dried up stream bed between Royal Worcester Crescent and Penshurst Road, in Bromsgrove.

“It was definitely a black panther. I know what I saw."

Droitwich - 2003

There was not one but two sightings of a big black cat in Droitwich in 2003.

In 2003, Stan Petrovic of Winslow Avenue, Droitwich was walking his dog in Hadzor Road when he spotted a large black creature.

In the same week, Neil Martin of The Ridings claimed to have spotted a mysterious black cat lurking around near Hanbury.

Hallow - 2001

A panther-like creature was spotted leaping a seven-foot fence in Hallow by Rob Rosewarne.

In 2001, he claimed he saw the "big, black cat" roaming in a field near Top Barn, Hallow, as he made his way to work from Kidderminster by bus.

"It was a complete shock to see what looked like a big, black cat clear a fence that high.

"It looked like a panther."

During a three year span, there were a number of big cat sightings which earned the illusive animal the moniker "Black Beast of Worcestershire".