A TRAPPED fox has been freed from a snare placed illegally on council land.

An appeal for information has been issued after animal welfare workers from Stockton Borough Council found the creature in Billingham.

The fox was found at the rear of Rolands Grove, in Billingham, near Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park, after a member of the public reported it.

The animal was released with very minor injuries but council officers and Cleveland Police are appealing for any information about the snare.

Members of the public are also being warned to be on their guard as the area is a popular dog walking area.

Councillor Jean O’Donnell, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, said: “We are grateful to the person who alerted officers to the trapped fox – these snares can be lethal and it is illegal to place one on public land.

“We will work with Cleveland Police to help stamp out these traps which pose a threat to both wildlife and domesticated pets.”

Dave Sanders, Cleveland Police’s Wildlife Crime Officer for Stockton District, said: “While the use of free running snares is permitted in certain circumstances, the guidelines for their use is very specific, with regard to type and location of snare together with frequency of checking it.

“This location was totally unsuitable as the area is used by members of the public for dog walking. The proximity to houses also means it could just have easily been someone’s pet dog or cat which was caught.

“The person setting this snare has shown a total and willful disregard for the safety and well being of domestic animals in the area.”

Anyone with any information can contact Stockton Council’s Animal Welfare Service on 01642 526575 or Cleveland Police 01642 302271.