A Stricken badger, which was caught by the neck in an illegal trap, has been rescued by a teenager from north-east Scotland.

Andrew Leatherbarrow found the trapped animal when he was out walking in woodland near his home on Friday evening.

The 19-year-old said: “I only noticed it because it was moving and thrashing about so much.

“At first I thought it had been become tangled up in a fence, because I could see metal wires coming out from either side of its head.”

But, on closer inspection, the badger had been caught in a deliberately placed trap.

“I tried to untie it, but it wouldn’t let me go near it. But, the more it struggled the tighter the wires were becoming.”

Andrew phoned his mother at home in the village, who then contacted the local vet.

“By the time the vet got there, I could see a lot of blood on the badger’s fur where the wires were cutting into it.”

The badger was released from the trap and checked out by a local vet. It was found to be relatively unscathed and was later released back into the wild.

Constable George Sangster, Grampian Police’s wildlife crime officer, said if it wasn’t for Andrew’s quick thinking, the animal might not have survived.

“I believe this snare was deliberately set to catch a badger,” he said. “It was set on what is an obvious badger run near to an area where there is an active sett. And it was set at such a height and in such a way that the badger was the undoubted target.”

He said: “If it was not for the prompt action of those who found the animal it could have been seriously, if not fatally injured.

“I have examined the device and believe it to be a self-locking snare, which is completely illegal. They do not release when the trapped animal ceases struggling, but will remain tight and will continue to tighten as the animal strives to get free, inflicting horrific injuries and suffering.

“In the past this has resulted in badgers being found almost decapitated or with extensive abdominal injuries.”

Constable Sangster has urged anyone who saw anything suspicious in the New Deer area, around College Ford on the outskirts of the village, on Friday evening to call police on 0845 600 5700 or freephone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Durham Badger Group report another snared badger which died in a snare set on a fence line in a strip of woodland Shildon area, near Bishop Auckland NZ 22030 24566.

RSPCA Inspector, Gavin Butterfield stated: “The poor animal must have suffered horribly. It would have taken a long time to die, and would have been in a lot of pain. You can still see the snare caught around its chest.”