VANDALS set a trap to ensnare wildlife claims a Hampshire woman who had to dive into a pond to rescue her dog.

Linda Neale was out walking her dog Ruffy along Weston Shore as they normally do when he jumped into a filter pond along the seafront and got tangled up in fishing wire.

Desperate to get her dog to safety, the 50-year-old stripped off her jeans and shoes to jump in and untangle him and was shocked to discover the wire had been deliberately and dangerously threaded throughout the water.

Fearing for the well being of other dogs, wildlife and small children who often play by the pond, the full-time carer called the Environment Agency who urged her to call the police to report the “malicious act”.

Unable to walk away and risk another animal or child getting trapped, Mrs Neale began winding it up and found that small stones had been tied into it, to act as weights to keep it under the water.

There was so much of it, that it took her 20 minutes to finally remove it all.

Mrs Neale, from Itchen, said: “I just heard him yelping so pelted round the corner and saw him there, in distress, stuck in the middle of the pond with fishing wire wound all around him.

“Luckily he is quite a tall dog and the water came up to the base of his neck, but if it had been a smaller dog it would have been very dangerous, especially as fishing line can cause considerable damage when it cuts and we all know how dangerous it can be for wildlife.

“At first I assumed it was a fisherman who had been careless but it was only when I was in there myself that I could see it criss-crossed backwards and forwards across the pond.

“That's when I knew it was deliberate.

Her four-year-old Cockers Spaniel Tibetan Terrier cross was lucky, but she fears that smaller dogs could get seriously injured by such a trap and small children playing close to it could find themselves in danger if they get tangled up in it.

She wants to warn other dog owners to take extra care when walking near the filter pond and urge parents to check the area before they allow their children to play around it.

She added: “I don't know what goes through people's minds but this kind of trap is really dangerous.

“Just the other day I saw two little boys playing there but they could have got tangled and got into a hell of a state. A little one could end up in hospital at the very least.

“I hope that if the people who did this read this, they will think twice before doing it again.”