THE mystery surrounding a dead fox abandoned in a cage in a public park has now been explained.

An elderly reader has written to the editor to reveal the truth about the bizarre discovery.

The RSPCA launched an investigation after the dead fox was found locked in a cage in Brighton's Stanmer Park in November.

Now an Argus reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he took animal to the park after he found it dead in his garden.

He said the fox was one of a number that visited his garden where food was left out.

When he found the creature dead he sought advice from a friend, a naturist, who recommended that he put the carcass in a cage to protect its body.

The reader said he had arranged for his friend to pick up the fox’s remains from Stanmer Park, which they both regularly visited.

His friend wanted to then bury the fox in the ground, concealed in the cage to prevent it being dug up and eaten by badgers.

He said: “My friend is a man who loves nature and wanted to eventually recover the fox’s skull, to display to other naturists.

“The fox was one the young ones which frequented my garden in Brighton where titbits are provided.

"Naturally I was upset to lose the fox and I had to consider ways to dispose of it so I sought the advice of my friend who loves nature.”

He said: “I put the fox’s body in an old animal cage, secured it with cable ties and thought this was over.

"However, he failed to pick up the fox that day and it had gone by the time he searched for it.

“Our plan had failed but the fox had not been caught in a trap.

"It was caged to prevent foxes and badgers digging it up in my friend's garden, which he himself intended to do in years to come, to retrieve the skeleton to display to other naturists.”

The Argus reader said he thinks the fox was more likely to have been badly hit by a motorist and then dragged its body up to his house.

He and his friend are concerned that it was taken to landfill.

At the time when the fox was spotted in the cage, the RSPCA released a statement saying the fox was likely to be a victim of animal cruelty.

RSPCA deputy chief inspector Charlotte Baumann said at the time: “At this stage we don’t know if he was put in there to die or if he was already dead when he was put into the cage.

"There is no obvious cause of death at this stage.”