Homeowners are being urged to check long grass and flower beds for hedgehogs after one of the prickly mammals had its legs sliced off by a lawnmower and died last week.

The Happy Hedgehog Rescue group in Yateley is encouraging people to be vigilant of the cute creatures when cutting grass, verges or hedges in their gardens this summer.

Last Tuesday (June 24), a volunteer was called to a house just outside Alton after a hedgehog died from being tangled in a lawnmower.

Daniel Boys, from Arborfield and a volunteer at the rescue centre, found the dead animal.

He said: “We have noticed a large number of hedgehogs being taken to the centre with strimming and lawnmower related injuries.

“In a case last week, a hedgehog had both of its rear legs sliced off and [was] left to die a slow and painful death.

“Given that more and more of the area is likely to be concreted over in the coming years with a seemingly infinite number of housing developments, the plight of hedgehogs will become bleaker so we are trying to do what we can to help.

“Already they are becoming locally extinct in some parts of the south east.”

Working on call, Mr Boys rescues animals and then transports them to medical specialist, Jayne Morgan, for treatment.

Last week, a mother hedgehog and her babies were lying in long grass when one of the babies became “mangled” in the lawnmower.

Mr Boys arrived with shredded paper, towels, bedding and water to assist the frightened hedgehog family.

Mr Boys added: “Checking for animals beforehand is a simple task and raising the profile could easily prevent some needless animal deaths.

“I guess most people just do not even consider the fact that a hedgehog could be resting or hiding in the grass, so raising the problem would mean fewer animals dying of horrific injuries and fewer needing to rescued.”

The Happy Hedgehog Rescue is a small, animal centre run by volunteers and funded entirely from public donations.

Passionate about hedgehogs, Mrs Morgan runs the group from her home in Yateley and contacts volunteers via Facebook as soon as she receives an emergency call.

Working in partnership with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, all hedgehogs are released back into the wild, normally as close to where they were found as possible.

Anyone who spots an injured hedgehog should contact the rescue group on 01252 871478.