The RSPCA and police are investigating after a dead pregnant deer was found in a tree with her legs tied together.

RSPCA inspector Natasha Wallis launched an investigation after the deer was found on March 31 in a tree in Hilfield Lane near Patchetts Green, close to Elstree.

Inspector Wallis said: "We were contacted by Hertfordshire Police after a member of the public reported finding the mutilated carcass of a deer strung up in a tree.

"The deer’s legs had been bound together with blue rope and the body has some injuries. When we x-rayed the body we sadly discovered a foetus - almost at full-term - inside which makes this even more upsetting."

The deer was found upside down and resting over a branch with the blue rope around her legs and loose over the top of her body.

The cause of death is currently unclear.

The inspector added: "What we don’t know is whether this deer was killed in suspicious circumstances or whether it was an accidental death, such as a road traffic collision.

"However, what is clear is that it’s extremely unusual behaviour for the body to be hung up in a tree so I’m keen to find out what may have happened here.

"Anyone with any information as to how the deer died or how she ended up in the tree can contact our appeal line on 0300 123 8018 and can call anonymously."