A YOUNG fox cub was injured after getting trapped in an old discarded football net at the back of a garden in York.

RSPCA animal collection officer Leanne Honess-Heather was called to the scene, in Rawcliffe Lane, Clifton, by a man who spotted the stricken and distressed animal on Sunday morning.

She said: "The man had managed to untangle the poor cub but he still had some loose bits of net wrapped around his neck and his paw, which was injured.

"The man had managed to free the little fox and confined him until I could get there. When I arrived, I could tell the cub was understandably quite frightened and distressed. He had swelling to the lower leg where the netting had dug in as he struggled.

"I knew he would need treatment so I took him to a local wildlife vet in Stamford Bridge."

The fox cub was x-rayed to check for any breaks, and luckily there were none. He was treated for the swelling and taken to a local wildlife rehabilitator overnight. The following day he was alert, eating well and bearing weight on his leg.

"Thankfully, the cub continued to improve so I was able to release him back into the area where he was found so he could be reunited with his family," Leanne added.

"I’d like to thank the gentleman who found the fox as he undoubtedly saved his life."

Following this incident, the RSPCA has urged homeowners, schools, recreation grounds and sports clubs to pack netting away at the end of games to stop wild animals and birds getting tangled and injured.

Leanne said: "Any type of netting poses a dangerous hazard to our wildlife and to pets, like cats, from sports nets to garden and pond netting.

"This little fox was lucky, he could easily have suffered fatal injuries or, if not spotted, died a slow and painful death tangled in the net.

"That’s why it’s so important that netting isn’t left unattended. Sport nets like football goals are often set up and left unattended in gardens and parks with many people not realising they can be death traps for wildlife."

If you spot a trapped animal you can call the RSPCA national cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999.