A BABY fox tangled in football nets was freed by animal welfare charity RSPCA after being found near Reading School's playing fields.

The frightened animal was spotted on a nearby sports pitch of the Morgan Road grammar school.

Derek Wilkins, RSPCA inspector, rushed to the scene to free the fox cub with help from trainee inspector, Sian Ridley.

He said: “The fox had got himself into a right old mess and was tangled in a football net when we arrived.

"After some skillful untangling, the cub was released and ran into some nearby woods, no doubt to a telling off from mum.”

The RSPCA is warning of the dangers of netting after revealing the charity receives hundreds of calls every year to rescue animals who have become tangled in netting, football nets or fishing litter.

In 2016, the charity received 1,907 calls to these types of rescues.

He added: “This is such a stressful situation for an animal, particularly a wild animal, to find themselves in.

“Flimsy netted fencing and netting used for gardening or sports like football and tennis can be really dangerous for animals and also poses a risk for those of us who are trying to rescue any entangled animal.

“We would urge those using netting for sports to remove and store all nets after their game and put any discarded or old netting safely in a bin and to check any permanent fencing regularly to ensure no animals have become trapped.

"Other forms of garden netting, such as pond or fruit netting, can be a real hazard to wild animals like hedgehogs and we would recommend replacing them with solid metal mesh.”

If you spot an animal in distress contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.