VOTE: Sharp rise in foxes across Littlehampton and Rustington

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PEOPLE living in Littlehampton and Rustington have been forced to turn their homes into fortresses to protect themselves from a “plague” of foxes.

Across the area people have been shocked by the steep and sudden rise in foxes patrolling their streets at night.

Robert Watson, of The Bramblings, Rustington, said he had been “plagued” by foxes for several months and had resorted to barricading his garden with rubbish, in an attempt to deter them.

He said: “They’re a bloody nuisance and I haven’t got the faintest idea what to do next.

“I know of one family that has had 20 killed in their garden already, but there’s no sign the culling has had any effect on the number of foxes in our streets.

“They’re so brazen and confident now. They invade our garden and roam around the street without a care in the world. Even blocking off my side alleyway with garden rubbish hasn’t worked.

“We’re now too scared to let our grandchildren play in the garden because we don’t know what might happen to them.”

Robert added that some neighbours down the road had even reported foxes jumping onto roofs.

Pam Gunn, 78, of Mariners Walk, Rustington, described the foxes in her road as a “menace”, and claimed the problem was down to people openly leaving food for them.

Littlehampton has also seen a rise in the fox population.

Penny Wells, of Townsend Crescent, said: “We worry about our dog in the garden at night because she is only a little Jack Russell. The foxes often keep the children awake or wake them up if they were asleep.

“The children get worried because it sounds like screaming.”

Angie Brown, of St Mary’s Close, Littlehampton, was concerned about the health and safety issues foxes presented.

Staff in Arun District Council’s environmental health department said they were unaware of any fox problems in Rustington and Littlehampton, adding that foxes were not covered by the pest control service as they were not classed as vermin.

Steve Walsh, owner of Walsh Pest Control, in Littlehampton, advised people not to feed foxes.

He said: “It’s not the foxes’ fault. At the end of the day, we are encroaching on their land.

“But encouraging them into the streets by feeding them will only make the situation worse. It’s best to leave all your rubbish and leftovers in a secure wheelie bin. You should also make sure that all cat flaps are locked and secured as foxes regularly enter homes this way.”

What do you think? Should councils be doing more to curb the growing number of foxes in Rustington and Littlehampton? Cast your vote in the panel to the right of the screen, and leave your comments below.