Leopard Spotted in Supermarket Leopard Spotted in Supermarket

By our roving reporter, Kitty Littre
Scared shoppers scarper as savage cat stalks British supermarket!

Persistent rumours of the existence of the notorious "Purley Panther" were finally confirmed today when an Indian leopard was spotted in this sleepy English market town. The animal was first seen in the High Street by an Estate Agent walking his hamster at seven-o-clock on Sunday morning. "It was rifling through the dustbins behind Ponsonby's Greengrocers," said a shaken Mr Clutterbuck (42). "I grabbed Spot—Spot is my filigree Siberian hamster—and dived into Mrs Shortbottom's back passage—then I legged it."

Later that morning the elusive animal chased two schoolgirls delivering papers in the Brighton Road and made off with a Prada leopard skin handbag and the younger girl's yellow Nike trainers.
"We were terrified," said Stacey Forbouys (15). "It came out of nowhere and jumped Fanny while she was bending down to post a copy of 'Naughty Nuns' through the vicar's letterbox."
"It was all I could do to stop it eating me Elle Macpherson thong," said her friend, Fanny Gussett (14). "Like, y'know, dat was well safe and cost me thirty-six quid and now it's fuckin' ruined innit!"

This is not the first time the leopard has attacked the citizens of this somnolent Surrey backwater. Over the past three months 17½ sightings have been reported. The partial sighting has been attributed to a Mr Jeff 'Mad Dog' Gussett (36), who wrapped himself in a moth-eaten old sheepskin rug decorated with black spots, in order to claim the £500 reward the Police posted for news of the animal's whereabouts. Despite the best efforts of the local constabulary, the nocturnal, knicker-noshing feline has so far evaded every attempt to capture it. The entire district is in the grip of a panic. The problem has got so bad that innocent moggies are being mistaken for the predatory puss and being slaughtered by the terrified residents.

"Nothing on four legs is safe anymore," said a dejected Mr Thom, the owner of a local Cattery, which has been decimated by the wave of anti-feline feeling sweeping the town. "This has really put the cat amongst the pigeons. Pets are fleeing in droves. If something isn't done soon, there won't be cat or dog left alive."
It's the humans I feel for," said Mrs Ida Plunkett (56), the plucky proprietress of the Purley Hilton Hotel. "Things have got so bad that people are afraid to go out at night. We used to be packed at the weekend, but last Saturday's strap-on female domination contest only drew three customers, and two of them were detective constables from the Purley Vice Squad."

The leopard was finally run to ground today by Sharon Plunkett (no relation), a checkout girl at Tesco's supermarket.
"I first spotted it loitering around the fresh Veg section," said the shapely, sharp-eyed seventeen-year-old shop assistant. "I panicked and threw a courgette at it. The next thing I knew it had leaped over the shelves and started ripping my clothes off. That's when I peed my pants and called the manager."

In a bizarre twist, we discovered that the animal belongs to a Mr Arthur A Pewty (58). When we questioned him about the wisdom of letting a wild leopard loose in a busy supermarket he defended himself by blaming the customers.
"Tiddles is a pussycat," explained the bespectacled, shabbily-dressed chiropodist sheepishly.
"I don't normally take him shopping with me, but the missus wouldn't leave him at home on account of her disability."
"Disability?" we asked.
"She's claustrophobic and Tiddles clears a shop in no time."
"Wasn't that a bit dangerous?" we asked.
Tiddles - the notorious 'Purley Panther' "I thought so too, but the missus says all young girls dress provocatively nowadays."
"We meant the leopard."
"He was on a lead."
"Which broke, Mr Pewty."
"Only because that young slut excited him. If they allow disabled people to take their animals into the store the staff should be trained to deal with them when they get a bit frisky."
"Mauling five hysterical women, maiming three other customers and biting the leg off a shelf packer is hardly 'frisky', Mr Pewty," we replied.
"Tiddles was frightened."
"What about the other occasions when he's savagely attacked the citizens of Purley?"
"That was—um...er—it must have been some other cat."
"With identical markings?"
"Leopards are very similar."
"But they don't all wear collars with their names engraved on them," we objected.
"How do you know that?"
"Because the police have actual video footage of 'Tiddles' ripping out the throat of a tramp who was sleeping under a security camera in the High Street last Wednesday night."
"Oh—ah, well, he did then," admitted the cat-loving chiropodist.

We asked Dr David Quartermain, a game hunter, and the world's foremost authority on big cats, why 'Tiddles' had turned on the shoppers.
"It's only natural that conflicts between humans and predators will increase as urban areas spread closer to the wilderness."
"But Purley is hardly a wilderness," we objected.
"No?" bristled the bucolic big-game hunter. "Why, only last week I saw a primitive young woman with a toucan perched on her head dressed in nothing but a ripped dhoti held together with two safety-pins attached to her nipples. You don't see that kind of thing in India."

Clearly, the zany zoologist had been out in the noonday sun too long. We steered him back to the subject in hand and asked him to elaborate.
"The type of prey taken by the leopard is dependent largely upon its locale. In the dense forests of southern India it will commonly take monkeys and small herbivores. As these are a bit thin on the ground in Purley it does not surprise me that it should have attacked Mrs Farley and her nipper in the baby-changing room."
"Why is that?" we asked him.
"Well," began the heroic hunter hesitantly, "She's a vegetarian, isn't she, and her baby's no oil painting is it?"
"And the attempted rape of the young shop assistant?" we enquired.

"If I am not mistaken, and I rarely am," began the self-appointed expert, smugly, "Sharon Plunkett was in heat—"
"—In heat?" we interrupted.
"Oestrus," explained Dr Quartermain. “A regularly occurring period of sexual receptivity in female mammals during which ovulation occurs and copulation is strongly desired."
"Thank you, doctor," we replied, "I think our readers know what the 'curse' is. Can we skip the biology lesson and get back to why 'Tiddles' attacked these poor, unfortunate women?"
"Certainly," replied the nit-picking naturalist, nonchalantly. "Humans attack when they get stressed—whether by drought, famine, or other animals competing for their food supply—and the leopard only responded in kind. Extermination follows extermination, as surely as nausea follows sex."

'Tiddles' was finally captured by two policemen outside the door of the baby-changing room where the remainder of the customers had taken refuge. There they might have remained, had it not been for the intervention of a trigger-happy military martinet, who blasted his way in with a shotgun. We caught up with the septuagenarian soldier in the car park. Major Clive Fanshawe DSO (and bar) was clearly enjoying his moment of fame and seemed quite oblivious to the fact that he had wrecked the finest supermarket in Purley and caused the Store Manager to soil a perfectly good pair of designer knickers. We asked the old war-horse what had happened.
"Manager said there was a wild animal prowlin' round the shop covered in filthy spots!" explained the major. "Can't abide vermin—so I fetched me Purdey."

"Purdey?" we asked.
"Double-barrelled twelve-bore. Never travel without it. Can't be too careful nowadays. Queer folk about. Bally nearly bagged the blighter."
"You mean the leopard?" we enquired.
The soldier nodded. "Filthy creatures. Shouldn't be allowed in supermarkets. Unhygienic, what? Kill the bally lot of them, I say."
"Aren't they a protected species?" we asked.
"Lepers?" repeated the have-a-go major. "Why would y' want to protect lepers? Lepers are dirty rats. Vermin; that's what they are."
"It was a leopard," we repeated.
"Leopard?" ejaculated the major. "Love leopards. "Never shot a leopard in me life. Noble, intelligent creatures. Never dream of shootin' one, but lepers are filthy, disease-ridden vermin. Shoot lepers. Exterminate the bally lot of 'em!"
Clearly, the eccentric old war-horse was several sandwiches short of a picnic hamper. Kitty Littre left him in the capable hands of the Store Manager and beat a hasty retreat.

We are happy to report that Mr Arthur A Pewty and 'Tiddles' are now securely under lock and key—though not in the same building and that peace and tranquility have once more descended upon this quiet English town.

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