A family pet was found on Christmas Day with a gin trap snapped tight on its front paw in Hungerford.

Cruel poachers have injured a family pet by setting an illegal gin trap like the one pictured here, on Hungerford Common.

The horrific incident happened on Christmas Day. At around 11pm, a local family’s pet cat crawled home with a gin trap snapped tight on its front paw.

Luckily for the cat and his owners, he was young, fit and healthy and is making a recovery at home in Tarrant’s Hill.

About one week before the incident, police received reports of a suspicious incident on Hungerford Common where it appeared people were setting up a number of snares by the Inkpen gates.

On hearing the news, the constable of the town and manor of Hungerford, Greg Furr, said the town and manor was not aware of such activity on the common, adding that nobody had permission to do such things on land owned by the town and manor.

Regular patrols of the common are now being conducted by the Hungerford neighbourhood police team and Pc Claire Drewitt said: “We’re not sure whether the two incidents are connected but we are not ruling out the possibility.

We are appealing for any information that will aid our investigation.

”Anyone who might be able to help is urged to call Pc Drewitt or PCSO Matthew Midwinter at Hungerford Police Station via 0845 8 505 505 with any information.

Gin traps are illegal to set in the UK and a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Richard Daley, said: “Traps like these are not only illegal but they are cruel and indiscriminate.”

Gin traps, which are illegal under the 1954 Pests Act, have toothed or serrated jaws, giving them the ability to hold their prey – usually by the leg – without killing it.

The RSPCA is opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all snares and any traps which cause suffering.

The Society believes there is no body-grip trap which does not cause unacceptable suffering.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, anyone found guilty of causing deliberate suffering to an animal can face a £20,000 fine and/or up to six months in prison.

Source: Newbury Weekly News

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