FAMILIES in a quiet suburban road say they are becoming increasingly worried by the behaviour of a pack of foxes.
The animals have been entering houses on Durham Avenue in Woodford Green, stealing food, defecating and, in at least one case, getting into fights with household pets.
Leslie Brand, who lives in Durham Avenue, said:“They came in through the window of my conservatory last Friday and pooed all over the place.
“The week before that they attacked my dog Tubby. He was covered in cuts, it’s very distressing.
“It worries me because there are a lot of people around here with young children and these foxes are getting so bold - they follow you and have no fear.
"I do think they could attack someone.”
Neighbours Ian and Susan Philp also said the animals behaviour was changing.
Mrs Philp, 59, said: “They are definitely getting braver.
“In nice weather I used to leave the back door open and hang up the washing while my grandson had a nap.
“But I won’t do that anymore because I’m worried the foxes will come in the house.”
Mr Philp, 64, said the animals had got into his shed and chewed his golf bag.
“They can be very endearing creatures and you think ‘lovely’ when you see the cubs,” he said.
“But when you try and shoo them off, they just stare at you. They are getting bolder and bolder.”
At a meeting of the council’s Area Two committee last week, Bridge ward councillor Robin Turbfield said he had been contacted about the problem in Durham Avenue.
Discussion of the issue led Roding ward councillor Gwyneth Deakins to comment: “I have always been in favour of establishing a Woodford hunt so that people can go Tally Hoing down the streets shooting or tearing the things to pieces.”
However, Graham Le-Blond, who runs Aldersbrook-based fox management company Fox-a-gon, said culling was not the answer to the problem.
“Bromley council culled foxes from the late 1940s until the early 1980s,” he said. “And when they stopped, the fox population was the same as when they started.
“Killing foxes does not solve the problem. If you don’t want them in your garden there are sprays you can get to stop them.”
A spokeswoman for Redbridge council said: “Redbridge Council doesn’t provide a service for destroying or trapping foxes.”
The council offers the following advice for reducing nuisance from foxes
• Find out if the fox is attracted to your garden by debris, rubbish or a compost heap.
• Remove any attraction, debris or rubbish, repair garden fences, raise the height of any bird tables and don’t leave bird or other animal food out overnight.
• Check your boundary fences for any holes that make access easy for foxes (however foxes are extremely good climbers).
• Do not leave refuse sacks out overnight
• To reduce the risk of scavenging ensure you tie rubbish sacks and place them securely in a dustbin
• Keep gardens tidy or arrange to help vulnerable neighbours if they struggle to maintain their garden because foxes will often hide in neglected gardens
For more information or advice on foxes, call the council's Pest Control Service on 020 8554 5000, visit www.redbridge.gov.uk or call The National Fox Welfare Society on 0193 3411996.