A young deer has been rescued by the RSPCA after being tangled up in the net of a football goal in West Sussex.
Animal welfare officer Marie Stevens was called to a garden in Nuthurst, Horsham, on Thursday morning to help the tangled-up roe deer.
Ms Stevens said: “It was an ‘oh deer’ moment for this youngster when he realised he’s better playing in the back roe than in goal!
“On a serious note though, the RSPCA receives around 1,000 calls every year to help animals and birds who have got tangled in netting.
“This poor roe deer was completely ensnared with the netting wrapped around his legs and his neck.
“Once they’re caught they panic and can wrap themselves tighter and tighter in the net causing serious injuries and, sadly, sometimes death.”
Ms Stevens recorded the rescue which saw her slowly cut away the netting from the distressed animal before carrying him to a safe spot for release.
“Thankfully this guy wasn’t injured and hadn’t done himself any damage,” Ms Stevens added.
The RSPCA is asking families with sports nets in their gardens to remove the netting after use and store it safely away.
Animals including fox cubs can get themselves tangled in netting, with the charity warning an animal can become seriously trapped in a short space of time.
Ms Stevens said: “If animals are caught in nets and go unnoticed even for a short time, they can really suffer.
“The tighter the net gets, it can cut off the blood supply to their limbs, damage bones where they have tried to frantically escape, or worst of all, they could be strangled to death.
“Many people don’t realise how dangerous netting is to animals so we want to raise awareness and hopefully stop animals from being injured.”
If netting cannot be removed, such as net covers for ponds or fruit, the animal protection charity recommends replacing fabric with solid metal mesh.
Members of the public who find a trapped animal are asked not to try and free an animal themselves but to call the RSPCA instead on 0300 1234 999.