COUNTRYSIDE rangers have mounted searches at a popular beauty spot after the discovery of a badly wounded fox in an illegal trap.
The fox, which had one foot partly severed by the jagged jaws of the spring trap, was taken away by the RSPCA and had to be put down.
Durham County Council countryside ranger Michael Monro who was called to the incident at the Causey Arch picnic site, near Stanley, said: “These traps are outlawed. This could have led to had much more tragic circumstances.
“It could have been someone’s pet dog or even a child.
“The fox was badly injured and judging from the state it was in it must have been there for more than 24 hours. Even if it had been freed, the fox would not have survived.”
The trap had been laid on county council land close to a footpath.
Searches of the area will continue and police have launched their own investigation.