CONCERNS over wild animals suffering "slow and agonising deaths" after being trapped in illegal snares have been raised by a charity.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) has been alerted to several such incidents in recent weeks.

These include incidents of badgers in illegal snares in North Lanarkshire, and a hare discovered in a spring trap in the Pentland Hills.

The SSPCA also assisted after a deer was found dead in an unlawful snare in Tullibody back in May.

Police later took over responsibility for that investigation, and confirmed to the Advertiser on July 21 that enquiries remain ongoing.

The SSPCA is calling for an outright ban on such traps, due to the "level of suffering" caused to wild animals.

An SSPCA special investigations inspector, who cannot be named due to undercover operations, said: "Snare and trap operators must check on the device every 24-hours and this was not the case in these incidents.

"These animals were caused unimaginable physical and mental anguish being caught in these traps.

"The creatures will have experienced slow and agonising deaths. The level of suffering they would have felt is unimaginable.

"These areas are popular with dog walkers so we would ask that anyone with pets in the areas are vigilant.

"Snares and traps are indiscriminate and domestic animals such as dogs and cats can also be caught in them.

"It is illegal for anyone to tamper with a legally set snare or trap so we would ask the public not to attempt this.

"If someone suspects a device is set illegally then they should contact us immediately."

The inspector added: "We've been working closely with our partners at Police Scotland on these wildlife crimes and both agencies are keen to find those responsible.

"If anyone has any information on whoever may have set these snares or traps or if anyone finds what they believe to be an illegal item, we urge them to phone our animal helpline immediately on 03000 999 999.

"All calls can be treated confidentially."