A warning has been issued by the RSPCA and police after an illegal animal trap that could kill small pets or injure children was found at a beauty spot.

A member of the public found the home-made gin trap with steel jaws measuring nine inches across at Thorpe Meadows in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

Police and the RSPCA say the public should be careful in case there are other traps lying around.

They say dogs should be kept on a lead and children should not wander off.

Amputation risk

RSPCA Chief Inspector Simon Parker said: “Had a small animal fallen into this trap, it’s clear the injuries would have been horrific.

“Equally, if a child had fallen onto the trap they would have required serious hospital attention with the possibility of limbs being shattered – or even amputation.”

Gin traps were made illegal in 1953.

They feature strong serrated jaws that clamp together when the trap is sprung.

If caught, the person who laid the trap could face up to six months in jail or a fine of up to £5,000, under the Protection of Animals Act 1911.

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