Animal lovers are readying for war in Wimbledon, after reports circulated that a friendly fox is due to be shot this afternoon by a storage company.

Cyril the fox, believed to be aged between two and three years-old, has lived for several months on the site of Safestore Self Storage Wimbledon, in Gap Road.

However, an alleged tip-off from an employee of the store alerted charity South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) to the fact that pest control had been hired by the company to shoot Cyril the fox at 1pm today.

Wimbledon Times:

Cyril has been described as very friendly

The company have denied this, and insisted they are looking to deal with the fox in a humane way.

Co-founder and director of SNARL, Tony Jenkins, who tried to catch Cyril yesterday evening so that he could be rehomed out of harm’s way and is planning to try again this afternoon, is sceptical about Safestore’s intentions.

He said: “I think they are backtracking. They are now saying the pest controller is coming but only to advise them on how to deal with the situation. That could be done over the phone, so I think that’s wrong.

“He’s very, very friendly. He’s not doing any harm. He seems to like their site.

“I can’t have a relatively healthy fox getting shot just because he might piss on a vehicle every now and then.”

Despite an employee at first denying any knowledge of the fox, a spokeswoman later sent this statement: "Thank you for your continued concern regarding ‘Cyril’ the fox found in our Merton storage facility.

"To re-iterate, there has been no intention to harm Cyril at any point. 

"Our primary goal is to ensure Cyril the fox is safely away from harm, not trapped in our store and get his health checked over by The Fox Project. We then plan to return him to his natural habitat nearby the Safestore Merton store.

"Thank you to South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) who have been advising us and assisting us by attracting Cyril into a safe box so he can be taken to The Fox Project without stress or harm."

An employee of Safestore Wimbledon previously denied any knowledge of Cyril saying: “We first heard about it when someone called this morning asking about a fox.

“It’s all news to us. We don’t know what it’s about. Safestore definitely doesn’t have a nuisance fox.”

The company’s Twitter feed has been dealing with complaints from members of the public all day, and insisted they want to resolve the issue “with Cyril’s safety in mind”.

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