On the run golden eagle spotted for a third time close to Leighton

A golden eagle capable of hunting cats is thought to have been spotted for the third time around Leighton.

The bird of prey called Norman took flight on Friday, January 9 after escaping from falconer Allen Smith.

Louise Betley, 31, has told the LBO that she saw Norman as she was driving from Milton Keynes to Leighton this morning.

She said: “I was at the bypass leading towards Stoke Hammond when I saw a huge bird in the sky, close to the tree tops.

“I’ve seen red kites and buzzards many times and it definitely was not one of those– it would have dwarfed them.

“It was huge, it looked like its wingspan was about five feet.”

Louise, from Hockliffe Road, Leighton, added: “It clearly had its eye on something as it was quite low and had stopped in the air.

“It looked like it was chasing something.”

The report comes a couple of hours after Woburn Forest Centre Parcs said that the eagle had been spotted within its grounds.

A tweet issued by the resort added: “Allen the falconer is in the area whilst Norman is enjoying the view over Woburn Forest and surroundings.”

Allen Smith had loaned the eagle, with a 6ft wingspan, and took him to his workplace in Flitwick when he went missing last Friday.

A number of other sightings have been made across Bedfordshire and police have been informed.

Mr Smith, from Lidlington, said Norman was a magnificent bird but added that he could “go for a cat” if he became really hungry.

His daughter Mel, 40, added that Norman shouldn’t get hungry for about three weeks and said they hoped to find him before he does attack any pets.

Three-year-old Norman stands roughly 3ft tall and weighs 10lbs and can be easily identified by the leather straps dangling from his feet.

Louise’s report comes after two other Leighton Buzzard residents contacted the LBO with suspected sightings.

Anita Scott said: “I believe we saw the eagle at the back of Phoenix Close during most of Saturday, January 10.

“We heard a strange bird call first and then saw the bird shortly after that. We first noticed it around 11am perched in the trees. It was there for most of the day.

“We have open farm land at the back of us and every now and then it would swoop down as if trying to catch something.

“We didn’t get a great close up view, and it could have been a buzzard, but the eagle call on Google matches that of the bird we were watching at the weekend. We haven’t seen it since.”

She added: “The picture isn’t great but it’s definitely some kind of bird of prey and not something we’ve seen before.”

And after seeing yesterday’s online story about Norman’s escape, Sarah Warner said: “I thought I saw an eagle last Saturday morning driving down Eastern Way, turns out it could have been!”