FATAL bait to deter foxes was spotted planted on a popular walking route in Warfield and pet owners are being warned to be vigilant.

Eagle-eyed dog walkers noticed the bait littered on a privately-owned footpath running adjacent to Westmorland Park on Tuesday, January 3.

A number of posts quickly began to circulate on social media and the incident was reported to the police and to Bracknell Forest Council.

The initial post read: “Dog walkers, anybody who walks their dogs in the big field next to Warfield Park there has been bait put down to sort out the abundance of foxes we are suffering from, but this could be fatal to dogs too.

"Please all pass the word around. This is private property so people should not be walking dogs here anyway.”

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “Animals, and especially dogs, are often extremely curious and will be drawn to food.

"Ingesting just the smallest amounts of some substances can lead to kidney failure and death.

“If anyone suspects that their dog has been poisoned they must take it to a vet immediately. If possible, they should take a sample of what the dog has eaten.

“Poisoning is a criminal offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The maximum penalty for those found guilty of this offence is a fine of up to £20,000.”

The bait, which is believed to be poisonous, was spread on private land and not under council responsibility.

In the UK, it is illegal to place ‘poisoned baits with the specific intention of killing foxes’, whether it is on private or public land.

A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said: “Police have been made aware of a post on social media relating to fox traps on land in Bracknell.

"Officers have not been informed of any specific incidents involving fox traps in the area.

Anyone who would like to report an incident or who has any concerns should contact Thames Valley Police on 101.”