WILDLIFE rescuers had to put together a “battle plan” after a fox crossed a moat and broke into a fortified tower.

Volunteers at the 200-year-old Seaford Martello Tower, which is now a museum, arrived yesterday to find the fox had somehow trapped itself inside the battlements.

It was desperately trying to scale the tower walls and escape.

Volunteer John Bond said: “When we arrived the fox was hidden behind a shed, but as soon as it saw us it started running around and jumping up the walls trying to get out.”

The fox had damaged a nail and left drops of blood as it ran.

John called East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) for help.

The rescuers said they worked out a “battle plan” to try and catch the fox. WRAS founder Trevor Weeks said: “It was clear this rescue was not going to be straightforward and that it would be a bit of a battle to catch him.

“The fox was extremely fast and the first few attempts to catch him were unsuccessful.

“But he kept running behind the shed and we used this to our advantage, trying to block him in.

“The fox became tired and tried to hide, giving us the ideal opportunity to confine and secure it using a dog grasper.

“I was then able to scruff the fox and lift him to the waiting cage where we could check him for injuries.

“Luckily there was nothing seriously wrong. It was a battle we were pleased to win for the fox’s sake.”

The rescuers decided to transport the animal to WRAS’s casualty centre, allowing it to eat and rest before it was released close to the tower.

Wildlife rescuer Thea Taylor said: “It was a blustery evening but the fox was clearly ready to go. It shot off out of the cage as soon as the door was opened and legged it off into the distance.”