HANGED by the neck for hours until it died – that was the fate of this fox caught in a snare.

The grim discovery was made by 14-year-old Samuel Jones who at first thought the fox was just caught in a hawthorn hedge at the foot of the garden.

But on closer inspection with his father Peter, the shocked pair found the animal was caught in a snare, attached to the hedge and a log on the ground.

Mr Jones, of Westfield Road, Manea, said: “It’s absolutely gobsmacking somebody would do this.

“I can see no reason for causing an animal such suffering, not to mention that this was carried out without permission on private land where children play and domestic animals live.

“We as a family have allowed the land we own to become a haven for all wildlife. The hedge was allowed to grow wild to attract bird life.

“How dare anyone act so irresponsibly and with no second thought to the animals which suffer in this way?”

He called the RSPCA who are investigating the incident.

Some snares to catch foxes and rabbits, called “free-running” snares, are legal but others, called “self-locking” snares, are not.

In this case the RSPCA found the snare was set in such a position that it became self-locking once the animal was caught. It was also set on private land without permission and, since it had not been checked, the fox had suffered before dying.

RSPCA inspector Jon Knight said: “The snare could have caught any domestic or wild animal and hadn’t been checked recently, so any animal caught could have suffered for hours before it died.

“People need to realise they must follow the law and guidelines for setting snares or leave themselves open to prosecution.”

Failure to comply with the appropriate laws, or catching a domestic animal and causing it to suffer in a snare, are offences punishable by a £5,000 fine or six months’ imprisonment, or both.

Anyone with information about this incident can call the RSPCA in confidence on 0300 1234 999.