THE 'beast of Bolton' is back, according to one stunned eyewitness who swears she saw it on the prowl on Saturday.

And this is the first reported sighting of the beast since 2015.

The large cat was spotted by Claire Parker at around 6pm on fields behind her house in Stopes Road, on the Little Lever and Radcliffe border.

Past sightings of the beast on the prowl have been in the area

Mrs Parker, who had previously poo pooed reports sightings of mysterious black creatures stalking towns, including Bolton.

She said: "I was always a bit sceptical when I heard report of black cats.

"It wasn't just me who saw it, my husband Steve did too."

Mrs Parker, who runs a glazier business with her husband, said she saw it first as she was getting ready to go out to a family at 6pm on Saturday.

She said: "I thought it was a dog at first and thought what is a dog doing out on its own in the field.

"I saw it was a large, black cat crossing the fields. We have a border collie and the cat was not as big as that, but not far off."

Mrs Parker called her husband Steve hardly believing what she was seeing.

"We saw it from our garden, a little distance away but saw it quite clearly through binoculars. I tried to get a photograph but it seemed to walk towards us and went into a dip and we couldn't see it.

"I was more interested than anything and am interested to see if anyone else spotted it. There are deer in that field and don't seemed to have been spooked by it.

"We moved in to the area two years ago and Googled it," she said.

Bury Times:

Mrs Parker said that the story raised a few laughs.

She said: "But my husband saw it too and they were interested."

Why American WW2 aircrews could be to blame for the Beast of Bolton 

There have been numerous sightings of a mysterious black creature stalking the town dating back to 2006.

In 2015 Natalie Kay described the moment she came face to face with the elusive animal while driving her Vauxhall Zafira along Doe Hey Road, Farnworth at night.

In June 2006, the then head of English at Rumworth School, Anne Wright, said she saw the creature as she looked out of the bedroom window of her home in Spring Meadows, off Radcliffe Road in Darcy Lever.

After a three year hiatus, the beast was back in 2009, when Peter Wood, of Poulton Avenue, Breightmet, spotted the animal in Leverhulme Park.

Around the same time, Barry Calvert said he spotted it near the Schoenstatt Shrine, in Kearsley.

In October 2010, Hollands Nurseries worker Barbara Cooke she saw a panther-like animal in a field in Bromley Cross.

British Big Cat Society founder and Boltonian, Danny Bamping, has previously spoken about the likelihood of its existence at length. 

Danny, originally from Bromley Cross, set up the British Big Cat Society 20 years ago after spotting a large cat-like creature himself in Kent.

He attributes the phenomenon to the availability of big cats for sale as pets in stores like Harrods in London until the mid 1970s, and also to American aircrews from the Second World War.