OFFICIALS from the RSPCA were called out to a village garden after a fox was seen in distress shortly after a hunt passed through.

Two RSPCA inspectors captured the fox in a garden at Alfrick Pound on Monday, but discovered it had not been shot or attacked by hounds.

The fox was put to sleep by the RSPCA at the scene.

They were called out by a village resident, who contacted the Gazette/News but wanted to remain anonymous.

He said he saw the fox in a distressed state in his garden shortly after the hunt had passed through the village on Tuesday morning.

"The fox was running in a distressed manner when the hunt had just been through the village. It would be difficult to challenge in my mind that the two events are connected, though I can't prove anything."

He said that after seeing the fox, he confronted some of the hunt followers, an encounter which he subsequently reported to police.

An RSPCA spokesman said: "“An RSPCA inspector and animal collection officer were contacted by a member of the public following concerns for the welfare of a fox in Alfrick on Tuesday, 17 January.

“Sadly, because of the fox’s condition, he had to be put to sleep at the scene.

“The fox was found in a collapsed state after having been reportedly seen walking around in circles. He was taken to Newbrook Farm RSPCA centre where a vet investigated the cause of fox’s injuries and poorly condition..

“The vet confirmed the fox had a serious infection of the inner ear that had ongoing for a long time and said there was no evidence of bullet wounds or signs the fox had been attacked.”

A police spokesman said officers visited Alfrick Pound shortly after 2pm after a report on an altercation between two people, but no further action is being taken.