The urban fox debate has been reignited after an unprovoked attack by one of the animals left a dog with a cut face and a woman afraid to go walking in her local park.

The fox jumped out on Mandy Aylett as she walked with her beagle Labrador cross called Rey in Queen Mary's Park, Carshalton, and tried to bite her before attacking her pet.

The 45-year-old dental nurse screamed, scaring the animal away.

The incident, has led to Mrs Aylett thinking twice before she visits the park, near her home in Pine Ridge, and has caused Rey to be nervous around other dogs.

Mrs Aylett said: "I went for an early walk with the dog. We were in a wooded part of the field and I could see a couple of little foxes, they weren't cubs but they were quite small, on my left and then, from my right, a larger one came out and went for my leg. My dog flared its teeth at the fox but then it bit him.

"I screamed loudly and the fox scarpered.

"It's only in the last couple of days that I've been back up there. It was a frightening experience. Rey's doing well but he's a bit more timid around other dogs when they come up to him now."

The attack follows an incident in which four-month old Dennie Dolan had his finger bitten off by a fox after it got into his Downham home and pulled him from his cot.

The incident led to calls for a cull on foxes although Sutton Council said it would favour people making sure the animals do not have access to food near their homes.

Mrs Aylett added: "I definitely think there is a problem with foxes. This fox would not have seen any threat from us.

"We have a lot of foxes round here. They just brazenly sit there and watch you. As I walk home from work it's not unusual to see two or three of them. You used to only see them at night but I see them at all times of day now."