Motorists are using clever tactics to try to outsmart an unusual culprit sabotaging their brake cables.

Reports of around a dozen attacks on car braking systems by foxes chewing the cables in the Broadwater Green area of Worthing have led to some drivers taking matters into their own hands. 

They have been using tarpaulin to shield expensive systems from the playful mammals.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said it cost their neighbour £1,500 to repair the system on Jaguar.

Trevor Weeks, the founder and operations director of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, told The Argus: "Several theories speculate on why foxes might exhibit this behaviour. Some believe they are attracted to the glycol in brake fluid, while others suggest that certain manufacturers use soy or animal fat in cable coatings.

The Argus: Drivers are trying to protect their cars from cheeky foxesDrivers are trying to protect their cars from cheeky foxes (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

"Foxes are known to have an affinity for rubber and may chew on it, much like other mammals such as rodents.

"However, unless there is concrete evidence of foxes actually chewing on rubber, it is best not to make assumptions. While foxes seek shelter under cars and sometimes in engine compartments, their presence in, under, or around vehicles does not necessarily imply they are chewing brake cables."

The issue first came to light in news reports and has particularly affected people in the South East of England due to high populations of urban foxes. 

William Southgate, from Uckfield, said: "The engine management light came on in my van on the way to work recently. I couldn't find anything wrong under the bonnet and cleared the faults with a code reader. What I did find was muddy footprints on top of my engine.

"On the third time we looked at the pipes and there were teeth marks in the pipes I had fitted. Fox teeth marks I assume."

Mr Weeks added: "To address this issue, there are several options available to deter foxes.

"You can use a tarpaulin  - lay it out, drive onto it, and wrap it up and around your vehicle for protection. 

"Plastic safety fencing or wooden edging log rolls can also be effective barriers around vehicles. Additionally, fox deterrent sprays can help discourage foxes from approaching your vehicle."