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The fox tried to eat the hand of the sleeping pensioner
A pensioner awoke from sunbathing to find a fox was gnawing at his hand, his daughter-in-law claimed today.

In a letter in Country Life magazine Carey Tesler told how her 83-year-old father-in-law had asleep in a chair in the back garden when he woke by a "searing pain" to see a "mangy-looking fox eating his hand".

When the father-in-law's neighbour was also troubled by the fox, the neighbour telephoned his local council and asked them to come and get rid of the animal.

But he was left baffled to be asked if he still had the fox with him.

When the neighbour said no, the council officer replied: "Well next time you see this fox, throw a blanket over him, carry him into your car and drive him to your nearest RSPCA."

It is not clear which council Ms Tesler is referring to, however she lives in London.

An RSPCA spokesman said that is has no arrangements with councils to take in foxes that are irritating residents.

He advised homeowners not to follow the council officer's advice.

The RSPCA spokesman said: "If there is nothing wrong with the fox, then there is no reason we'd be involved. The only foxes in our wildlife centre are ones that have been hit by cars.

"If the animal was injured, yes we would get involved. We also have information on our website about how to deter foxes. But we wouldn't encourage people to chase around after foxes or cover them with blankets."

Ms Tesler's immediate family has also been harassed by foxes.

Her Country Life letter told how last summer her family's rabbit was killed by a fox in broad daylight.

"It scaled our 10 feet garden wall, bit the head off our daughter's bunny and left the decapitated body by the trampoline," she wrote.