A DISTRESSED deer had to be rescued after becoming tangled in a football net.

Video footage shows the moment RSPCA animal welfare officer Marie Stevens was called to Nuthurst, near Horsham.

Marie quietly reassured the creature while cutting him free from the net.

The footage shows the roe deer completely ensnared in the goal, with the net wrapped around its head, body and legs.

Marie said that the animal could have panicked, getting itself more and more wound up in the net, and could have died.

The Argus:

Footage showed the trapped young deer - scroll down for video

But she was called quickly and was able to help.

She said: “This poor roe deer was completely ensnared with the netting wrapped around his legs and his neck.

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“Once they’re caught they panic and can wrap themselves tighter and tighter in the net causing serious injuries and, sadly, sometimes death.

“Maybe it was an ‘Oh deer’ moment for this youngster when he realised he’s better playing in the back roe than in goal.

The Argus:

The animal's head was also caught in the net - scroll down for video

“On a serious note though, the RSPCA receives around 1,000 calls every year to help animals and birds who have got tangled in netting.

“Luckily for this little one, I was able to cut him free, carry him to a safe part of the garden and release him back into the wild.

“Thankfully this guy wasn’t injured and hadn’t done himself any damage. But netting can be lethal for animals.

The Argus:

Luckily the youngster was cut free to safety- scroll down for video

“Many people don’t realise how dangerous netting is to animals so we want to raise awareness and hopefully stop animals from being injured - sometimes fatally - after getting caught up.”

The RSPCA said some examples include fox cubs strangling themselves to death because they have been unable to free themselves.

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It doesn’t take long with an animal thrashing about attempting to escape before they become seriously trapped.

Marie added: "If animals are caught in nets and go unnoticed even for a short time, they can really suffer.

"The tighter the net gets, it can cut off the blood supply to their limbs, damage bones where they have tried to frantically escape, or worst of all, they could be strangled to death.

“This is why we’re asking families to remove sports nets after use and store them safely away. It only takes a few minutes and yet it could save an animal from suffering a horrible death.

"Where netting can’t be removed, such as pond or fruit netting, we recommend replacing them with solid metal mesh.”

If you see an animal tangled in netting,call the RSPCA immediately on 0300 1234 999.