A TEN-week old fox cub was rescued by steelworkers after being found covered in chemicals and starving in an industrial building.

The cub, named Lady Vixen, was discovered in a flooded basement at SSI steelworks in Redcar by staff, and is now recovering in a specialist wildlife rescue centre in Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

She was found in about six inches of water and was covered in more than one hundred ticks and coal dust which blackened her fur.

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It was also believed the water she was found in could have contained highly carcinogenic, flammable chemicals.

The steelworkers cleaned her up and took her to the Wildlife Haven rescue and rehabilitation centre in Thirsk after finding her last Thursday.

Lauren Langley, of the Wildlife Haven, said: “She is a vixen, we think about ten weeks old, and she was found in a basement area which was filled with about five or six inches of water.

“She was covered in coal dust which was completely black and they just weren’t sure what was in the water so they took her home and washed her, and did a really good job.

“She is underweight and had a really heavy burden of ticks, which usually means an animal is quite poorly or under the weather. We think she had been separated from her family for a while.

“Normally we will try to reunite a cub with their family unless they are unwell, and in this case we have to treat her so we won’t be able to take her back to her family. She will stay with us until about August when we will start releasing her into the wild.

“Most fox cubs are born about March time, and the males will leave their family by around July, while the vixens tend to stay to help rear the next litter.”

She said that she had managed to remove most of the ticks and the cub was eating well and regaining weight, putting her well on the road to recovery.

The Wildlife Haven is a non-profit-making organisation and is currently applying for charitable status. It takes in any wild animals, including birds, squirrels, bats, foxes and hedgehogs.

Miss Langley and her mother, Krista, have been volunteering in wild animal rescue for 15 years and run the centre from their home near Thirsk.

Anyone wanting to donate can visit their website on www.thewildlifehaven.org