ILLEGAL snares have been set up to trap animals for food in beauty spots in Silchester and Tadley.
In the past month, 12 of the home-made traps have been left on trees an Inhams Copse, Silchester, to capture squirrels. A larger snare was also left in Pamber Forest, Tadley, to capture smaller species of deer, like roebuck and muntjack.
The snares contain a wire loop that tightens if an animal struggles, causing it to become strangled.
These traps are illegal according to the Animal Welfare Act, because they were set up without permission from landowners and are not being used for pest control.
PC Stephen Rogerson, Tadley beat officer, told The Gazette: “It gives us great concern for any dog walkers. Potentially, you could even get young children trapped, depending on how big the snare is set.
“We want to hear from anybody who comes into contact with these snares. They are very dangerous and we do not want anybody to be injured from it.”
A dog walker reported the snare in Pamber Forest after his Jack Russell got caught in it. The dog was not injured.
Graham Dennis, reserves officer at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust which manages the land, said the trappers had first cut a gap in a fence that runs around an area of coppicing.
The trap would have been set once the deer had used the gap to get to eat new leaves in the protected area.
Mr Dennis said: “These are the first snares I have come across in a long time, and I have been working here for 20 years. We do not want to see animals suffer, and however you rig these up, they do cause suffering for animals.”
The 12 snares in Inhams Copse were attached to tree branches with food to attract squirrels.
Anyone with information can contact Tadley police station on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.