'Big cat' emerges from hedge and prowls outside Yorkshire McDonald's in footage captured by stunned drive thru customer

This is the moment stunned staff and customers at a Doncaster McDonald’s spotted a 4ft beast prowling for food in the town’s latest ‘big cat’ sighting.

There have been numerous sightings of huge predators prowling the fields around the town for a number of years.

Video footage captured the moment the sandy, fawn coloured animal with a striped tail and ‘leopard print’ markings was spotted crawling from bushes just yards from amazed customers at the burger chain’s drive thru branch at Redhouse Interchange.

Jon Middleton, who filmed the clip said: “Everyone who saw it was absolutely stunned.

The sandy coloured beast was said to be 4ft in length and 2ft high. (Photo: Jon Middleton).

"It was very muscular and very cautious in the way it was moving around, like it wasn’t used to being near to people.

"I literally just did a double take when I saw it and others were the same.”

Jon, who was on his way to picking his son up at school on Monday morning (January 31) at around 10.30am, said the animal was about 2ft high and about 4ft in length.

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Big cats in Yorkshire: A history of sightings
The 'big cat' was spotted prowling for food at a Doncaster McDonald's branch. (Photo: Jon Middleton).

"It was huge. It’s markings and behaviour were quite distinctive. It looked like it was sniffing around for food.

"It had very large paws, leopard print markings on its back half and a very distinctive striped tail and also longer hairs on top of its ears.

"Everyone was saying how beautiful it was, but everyone was really freaked out too.

"It wasn’t behaving like a domestic animal at all. If I had a small dog or things like chickens or rabbits, I’d be worried about having that prowling around my garden.”

The big cat was spotted at the McDonald's at Redhouse Interchange.

Jon, who lives in Aston in Rotherham, has reported the sighting to Doncaster Council, the RSPCA and South Yorkshire Police, who all took details of the incident and have said they will investigate.

He said: “I just want to get the word out to people to look out for it.”

There have been numerous big cat sightings reported in the Doncaster area over the years.

In August last year, a female dog walker reported seeing a beast prowling in fields near Thorne.

Another reported seeing a “big black cat while driving off the M18 onto the M180 near to Thorne Golf Course.

Earlier last year, footage emerged of a mystery animal in fields near Armthorpe.

The clip showed a large, black animal stealthily moving through fields on the outskirts of the village in February.

In 2019, mum Jessica Clark spotted a huge 5ft black cat in fields near to the town’s Keepmoat Stadium.

“When I realised what I’d seen, I just started panicking. It was massive and very muscular and definitely a big cat. It was quite frightening to see something like that up close,” she said.

In January 2017, Alan Tomlinson said he had seen a ‘panther’ near to junction one of the M180, close to Doncaster services.

He said: “I’ve been doing this job for eight years, and have been driving since 1982 and I’ve seen foxes and things like that but I've never seen anything like that before. It was much, much bigger than any animal I've ever driven past.

“I only saw the back of it,but I knew it was a puma or a panther when I saw the size of its tale which was curled right round. That's how I knew it was a panther.

Meanwhile, later the same year, trucker Graham Byram said he saw a trio of highways workers struggling to lift a huge dead animal into the back of a truck on the A1 near Harworth.

Stories of big cats go back to the 1960s and 70s when it was legal to keep exotic animals as pets.