Picture Gallery: A plum-stealing fox is caught in the act

THIS fox is going to great lengths to make sure it gets its five-a-day.

West Harting resident, retired naval commander Michael Casement, could not quite believe his eyes when he looked outside and saw a fox helping himself to some plums.

The plum thief SUS-140818-152631001 PICTURE BY Cdr MICHAEL CASEMENT

The plum thief SUS-140818-152631001 PICTURE BY Cdr MICHAEL CASEMENT

“My family have lived in West Harting for over 50 years, and are accustomed to being woken at night by intruder lights showing badgers and rabbits scavenging in our drive for windfall apples and pears,” said Cdr Casement.

He had recently returned from holiday and was puzzled by debris under a nearby Victoria plum tree.

“But the mystery was solved when, looking out of the sitting room window, I was astonished to see a young fox stealing fruit from the lower branches, in broad daylight – it was 1.30pm.

“Grabbing a nearby camera, I took a sequence of snapshots, through the double-glazed window of the culprit, standing on tiptoe and feasting on the plums.

“It continued greedily eating for at least ten minutes, until disturbed by a passing agricultural tractor.

“I know foxes regularly take chickens from our near neighbour at night, but I have not previously heard of foxes feasting on plums, and in broad daylight.

“Foxes are notoriously versatile in what they eat, and readily adapt to whatever they can scavenge in urban cities, but in rural countryside their normal diet is eggs and young of ground-nesting birds, chickens and rabbits, and small rodents. I do wish this unusual fox would revert to catching the rabbits which dig up daffodil bulbs from my lawn and flower-beds, and the mice which plague the vegetable garden. This fox has not been back, so I am hoping he is suffering from indigestion from eating the unripe plums.”