A fox has been put down after being shot with an airgun and left to die.

The helpless fox was discovered in a garden shed in Aurelia Gardens, near Croydon Cemetery.

Maggots were burrowing into its body through the wounds and it had lost the use of its hind legs.

A volunteer from the Fox Project, a charity that deals with injured foxes, was called in to collect the animal.

Closer examination revealed it had been shot in the ribs and abdomen and the group decided to put it down.

A volunteer, who did not wish to be named, said the fox "had obviously been suffering for quite some time" and called the attack "a particularly cruel, nasty and malicious thing to do".

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said the charity was seeing "lots" of airgun incidents.

She said: "Most of the time the animal is in great agony. It can take up to a few days to die and flies will lay eggs very quickly in a wound."

The spokeswoman said people bothered by foxes should seek advice on deterring the animals, adding: "You can't just shoot them."

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