A dairy was involved in a battle with thieving foxes five years ago this week.

Milkmen have spent decades battling against the supermarkets for customers, but one dairy is now also fighting four-legged thieves intent on eating into its profits.

Parker Dairies says it has been inundated with complaints from customers across Waltham Forest this summer because foxes are stealing orders from doorsteps.

The Woodford Green-based dairy was shocked when it received more than 25 emails, complaining over problems such as smashed milk bottled and undelivered items.

However, the mystery was finally solved last week when a milkman spotted a brash urban fox making off with a carton of eggs in its mouth.

Parker Dairies manager, Paul Lough, said: “It was a complete mystery at first.

“We had complaints saying the milkman had smashed a pint of milk and left it, but we knew they would never do anything like that.

“It does seem to be a problem that is becoming more and more prevalent around Waltham Forest, the foxes either smash the milk on the floor or if there are eggs of bread they just run off with them.

“These days, everyone wants their milk by 7.30am, so now we have to begin deliveries at 1am. Milk left on the doorstep all night means the foxes are causing us problems.

“Unfortunately, they seem to have especially gotten a taste for the sourdough loaves we deliver.

“Everyone is upset apart from the foxes, we have to pay for the items that go missing and the customer goes without their milk that day.”

Parker, which has been in business for more than 120 years, was based at a depot in Wood Street, Walthamstow for decades.

The company made national news last year when it was forced to move from its long-time base to an industrial site in Anderson Road, Woodford Green, due to rising rent costs.

Mr Lough said the dairy was taking steps in its fight against foxes to ensure customers’ orders stay out of the paws of furry thieves.

He added: “We have been giving away free milk minders to try and stop the problem but they are expensive and they do not seal so it does not solve the problem completely.

“The milkman are trying to do anything possible, they are putting milk on windowsills or hiding it under flowerpots, but these foxes are very adventurous.”