A police officer has revealed how he was left stunned when a force helicopter caught sight of a big cat on Arthur’s Seat during a hunt for a missing woman.
The curious discovery was made early in 2012, as police searched for a vulnerable mum following the discovery of a two-day-old baby abandoned near St Leonards Police Station.
Desperate to track her down, the police’s Air Support Unit was sent to swoop over Holyrood Park with infrared camera gear.
Inspector Nick Whyte, who was on board the helicopter that night, said: “The helicopter was called out at one o’clock in the morning and we went along and we were searching around the area of undergrowth [where the baby was found].
“We detected a very large heat source that we thought was possibly the mother. As I directed a female police officer towards it, the heat source got up and it turns out it was a big cat – we think a puma or something like that.
“We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. It wasn’t a domestic cat, because on the same part of the screen you could see the female police officer and this thing was, you know, three times the size of her. It was huge.
“She couldn’t see it and she couldn’t hear it. I just told her calmly to stop where she was and turn around and walk away, and she did.
“The cat bounded off, never to be seen again. Sadly we don’t have the video footage from it.”
He added: “I think the mother was found some days later, alive and well.”