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A professional marksman shot three foxes dead after a resident decided killing them was the last resort to get them out of his garden.

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It is legal to kill foxes with rifles or shotguns, but as little suffering as possible must be caused to the animals.

Other methods, including trapping and poisoning, are illegal under animal welfare laws.

Peter Caton, of Gants Hill, said the three foxes he had shot earlier this year had been ruining the garden and scaring his neighbour’s children.

He added: “I was reluctant to do it because I love animals but I was getting sick and tired of them.

“I found someone who was a marksman and I oversaw it. He shot them so well they dropped dead without feeling a thing.

“My old cat was scared stiff and he didn’t want to go outside anymore.

“My neighbour was frightened for her two young children because a fox used to sit on the top of a shed and leer at them.”

Mr Caton, 65, also believed the foxes had smashed plants and found their excrement in the garden and on his doorstep. He once found one “trying to get in through the cat flap”.

An RSPCA spokesman said: “It is regrettable that anyone found it necessary to take such drastic action against these foxes when there are plenty of ways to deter them from your garden without killing them.”

Another Redbridge resident attempted to deter foxes using natural methods in September.

Johnny Lyndon, 85, of Coniston Gardens, Clayhall, followed advice to use his own urine to mark territory.

He said: “I got so desperate, I urinated in some bottles and put them down there because it’s supposed to put the foxes off.

“But I don’t think they’ve worked because of all the rain.”

Numbers of foxes are not monitored or controlled and Redbridge Council does not remove them as a pest.

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