A DOG walker dialled 999 to report seeing a leopard at a beauty spot.

Dianne Lonnon was walking her terrier-collie cross called James in Cantercrow Hill, Denton, near Newhaven, when they came across the “spotty brown coloured big cat” just in front of her.

Mrs Lonnon, 66, said: “I was just yards away.

“It was in front of us and looking away so I don’t think it saw us and I was just praying it didn’t turn round. I was just hoping the dog didn’t bark. “It was walking in front of us and just walked away. We were heading towards it so I turned around and hoped it didn’t smell my fear.

“I didn’t even look behind me I was so scared.

“Then I ran home with the dog and phoned 999. They told me I had to call the non-emergency number and were asking me lots of questions like what shape its ears were and whether it was bigger than a Labrador.

“Its tail was right up and I can’t remember what its ears looked like because I was so scared and keen to get out of there.

“I’ve been on safari twice and it looked just like a leopard.

“I saw it long enough to know it was definitely a cat.

“It was right in Denton village. I have seen lots of people riding bikes and up there with kids and I’m terrified. I just wanted to tell everyone it could be out there.”

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police: “A sighting of a large brown wild cat with lines on its tail was reported to police on Sunday at 9.44am by a dog walker who had spotted it in a field north of St Leonards Road, Newhaven.

“The sighting has been noted by the wildlife officer for the area.”

She added that if anyone spots a suspected leopard or other big cat they should call the 101 police non-emergency number. But if you are being attacked or in fear of attack call 999.

Have you seen the Denton leopard? Call our newsroom on 01273 544519 or email Emily.walker @theargus.co.uk.