A frightened fox was mistaken for a burglar when it was heard crashing around near a shed in Shoreham.
The wild animal had wedged its head in a watering can and was blundering around blindly, trying to free itself.
Worried neighbours were alerted when they heard loud crashing coming from the back garden next door and, knowing the house was empty at the time, they went to investigate.
At first, they thought the shed was being burgled but when they looked more closely, they saw the fox with a watering can on its head and called the RSPCA for help.
Rebecca Carter, RSPCA inspector, said: “When I arrived in the back garden of the empty house, the poor fox had a plastic watering can on his head.
“He was stuck fast, couldn’t see a thing and was very frightened. No wonder he had been crashing around.
“Luckily, I was able to gently manipulate the watering can until it was at an angle that allowed me to ease his head out.
“As soon as I freed him, he was off!
“We suspect this healthy looking male may have been out looking for food when curiosity got the better of him.
“I’m so pleased this incident had a happy ending but it could have ended very differently if the next-door neighbours hadn’t been around to spot the poor animal and call us for help.”
The rescue took place on Thursday, October 31.
If you want to report concerns about an animal, contact the RSPCA’s hotline on 0300 1234 999.