The officer investigating fox killings near Odsal Stadium said the public response to the crimes had been "amazing".

Odsal police divisional wildlife officer PC Phil Walker said he had received more than 40 phone calls from the public after the story was highlighted in the Telegraph & Argus.

Gangs of fox-baiters have killed six foxes in the last 12 months by digging them out of their dens behind the stadium and setting packs of dogs on them.

The baiters dress in combat fatigues and some are believed to be armed.

PC Walker said the animal bodies showed the foxes' front legs had often been deliberately broken by the gangs to weaken them before the fights to the death.

The officer said in the latest case, a fox had been set on fire while it was alive and it was common for the gangs to bet on which dog would kill the terrified fox.

PC Walker said: "The response from the public was amazing. At least 40 people have rung up saying they've found fox carcasses in suspicious circumstances.

"I've had calls from people from as far afield as Halifax and Leeds, as well as within Bradford, who say they've also spotted gangs of men fitting the descriptions of baiters.

"We've had a few names put forward and have collated all the information we have received so far but the operation is still on-going."

Under the Wild Mammals Act 1996, it is an offence for a person to commit a violent act on any wild mammal with intent to inflict suffering.

But a loophole means it is not illegal to hunt wild animals with dogs.

Anyone with information is asked to call PC Walker on 01274 376623 or leave a message on 01274 376676.

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