A FARMER discovered a dozen dead sheep which had been stripped to the bone in 2008, sparking fears a big cat may have been on the prowl in Renfrewshire.

The worried farmer, who lived near Kilmacolm and wanted to remain anonymous, found the skeletons on almost a daily basis over a two-week period.

The revelation came just a few months after intriguing pictures were taken of what some people thought looked like a large black cat walking across the green at Kilmacolm Golf Course.

Investigator Mark Fraser, from the Scottish Big Cat Society, looked into the farm incident.

He said: “That is quite a lot of sheep to be killed.

“The cats can travel within a 30-mile radius and need three things – food, water and a mate.

“A large cat can survive on one or two rabbits a day and would kill more if it had cubs.”