A DOG walker fears animal cruelty may have occurred after a deer was found dead outside a football club.

The body of a male deer was discovered near Leigh Town Football Club with "copper piping" around its neck.

The dog walker, who wants to remain anonymous, made the gruesome discovery on Friday evening and claims other walkers told him that"a man was seen attacking, kicking and beating" the deer that morning.

He said: “It was a sad sight seeing what appeared to be a healthy male deer just dead on the field.

“The copper piping was trapped under the deer’s torso and I became immediately suspicious that it may have been embedded in its body.

“I initially thought the copper piping was in its neck until I carefully lifted it slightly with my trainer but I didn’t handle or manoeuvre it any further.

“The circumstances in which I found the animal leaves many unanswered questions.

“I walked on to the road and contacted Wigan Council and as I was in the process of doing this I started a conversation with a passing couple who informed me that a man had been seen attacking, seemingly beating and kicking a deer early hours of the morning at the roadside and the police had attended.

“Further investigation of the body of the deer would be required to draw any conclusions on its untimely death but overall an impression of animal cruelty at play which saddened and angered me.

“Hopefully someone can provide some definitive answers over cause of death.

“From the encounter I made however sad it was I wasn’t left with an innocent explanation unfortunately.

“I’m hoping for a more palatable innocent explanation.”

The RSPCA has now been made aware of the incident and has told people to get in touch if they have any information on the deer’s death.

Anyone with information should call the RSPCA on 0300 1234999.