A cull on foxes is not the answer to the problem of feral beasts encroaching on people's homes and gardens, councillors say.

Instead, people should take measures to make sure their homes and gardens are not fox-friendly by getting rid of food sources and hiding places.

Although one of Sutton's councillors says the solution to the problem could be to set up a central Government fund for councils to dip into if they have a problem.

Concerns about the numbers of urban foxes in London have been raised after allegations an animal got into a house in Downham and attacked four-week-old baby Dennie Dolan last week. Dennie is now recovering after having one of his fingers bitten off and receiving cuts to his face.

London mayor Boris Johnson said the "growing menace" of urban foxes needs to be addressed and raised the prospect of a cull. But Sutton's councillors say this may not be the best solution.

Councillor Jill Whitehead, chairwoman of Sutton Council's environment and neighbourhood committee said: "Foxes are a natural part of the biodiversity of the UK, however, it is recognised that fox densities in urban areas can be high.

"The only really effective way to deal with foxes is to use humane methods to deter them from gardens and surrounding areas. This does however require a sustained and long programme to achieve results."

Coun Lester Holloway added: "Boris Johnson has mentioned culls but certainly from what I've read they aren't effective and other foxes simply move into the territory of the fox that's been killed.

"If the Government recognises that this is a problem then I see no reason why there shouldn't be a fund that councils bid into to do things like block holes and encourage people to stop leaving food out."

The London Wildlife Trust says the best way to reduce the number of foxes in the capital is to stop feeding them and make sure food waste is kept in secure bins.

Have you had problems with urban foxes in Sutton? if so contact reporter Mike Pyle on 0208 722 6359 or mike.pyle@london.newsquest.co.uk.