Residents of a popular beauty spot in the UK have been warned to be vigilant after scratch marks were discovered on trees in the woods.
It is thought that the marks have been caused by a big cat, raising concern among visitors to Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.
The scratches were discovered in a wooded area of the popular tourist spot, and experts have since been sent to investigate.
The area is well known for its wildlife and is a popular spot for walkers, hikers and cyclists.
Local police have warned visitors to be careful and to stay alert for any signs of the big cat.
A spokesman for the Staffordshire Police said: “We are aware of reports that scratch marks were discovered on trees in the woodland area of Cannock Chase.
“We take all reports of wild animals seriously and are looking into it. However, at this stage, there is no evidence to suggest that a big cat is present in the area.
“We would advise visitors to Cannock Chase to be vigilant and to stay alert for any signs of a wild animal.”
The presence of a big cat in Cannock Chase would be the first time such an animal has been spotted in the area since the 1970s.
Reports of big cats in the area have been increasing in recent years and experts are now carrying out DNA tests on the scratch marks to see if they can identify the species.
The authorities are now urging anyone who has seen a big cat in the area to come forward and report it.
The spokesman added: “We would urge anyone who may have seen a big cat or any wild animal in the area to contact us.
“We would also advise anyone who is visiting the area to take extra care and be aware of their surroundings.”