A TRAIN passenger saw what he believes was a “puma” type cat.

Kevin Tully was travelling with his wife Amanda Zoe, 49, when he spotted what he believed to be a big cat near Southease railway station, between Newhaven and Lewes. Mr Tully, of Beacon Road, Seaford, said: “There was a big cat quite close to the railway line, nestling in next to a hedge.

“It was circling in the way cats tend to do before they settle down somewhere.

“What was really weird was that it was in a field of sheep.

“The hairs on my neck stood up.

I did try to point it out to my wife but we had already gone past where it was.”

Mr Tully, aged 50, who is a technology teacher, told of the sighting after dog walker Dianne Lonnon came across a “spotty brown coloured cat” in nearby Cantercrow Hill in Denton, near Newhaven. Mrs Lonnon, who has been on safari twice, said she thought the cat looked like a leopard but that details were difficult to remember as she was so scared.

Her sighting was noted by a Sussex Police wildlife officer at the time.

Mr Tully believes he did not see a leopard. He said: “It didn’t look like a leopard, it was sleeker and smaller.

“It looked like a dirty puma to me. It was the size of a puma but it had markings on.

“My wife told me it must have been a big dog, but its movements were definitely those of a cat. I saw it for at least five seconds.”

Mr Tully used to live near Paignton Zoo in Devon.

He added: “I used to go and see the pumas there and funnily enough my brother used to look after one in the days that wild animals could be kept as pets.

“I didn’t report it because I thought people would reckon I was mad.”

Dozens of big cat sightings have been made to Sussex Police over the past decade, including a suspected sighting of a lion.