Residents in a village near Abingdon believe they have seen a rare black fox and are hoping it doesn't spell bad luck.

Black foxes are very rare – only a handful of them are said to exist in the UK and according to legend they bring bad luck to people who spot them.

Hairdresser Liz Malin, 47, who lives in Bayworth, said she was one of a number of residents who have seen the fox roaming the village over the past few days and have concluded they have seen one of Britain's rarest animals, although a national fox expert is not convinced.

Ms Malin, who works as a hairdresser at Mayott House care home, said one resident took a photo and posted it on Facebook.

She said: "It's the fox's black tail with a white tip that has made people think they have seen a black fox.

"The fox has been in and out of people's back gardens and walking along the main road through the village.

"I saw him on his travels the other day - he's definitely not shy.

"I think it could be a black fox - it certainly doesn't look like an ordinary red fox but I think you would need an expert to say for certain - perhaps it's some sort of crossbreed.

"Everyone in the village is talking about this - when I tried to find out more online I found out that seeing a black fox is considered a bad omen.

"The day after I saw it I woke up not feeling very well but that's just a coincidence.

"We will keep looking out for this fox."

Martin Hemmington, of the National Fox Welfare Society, said: "I don't think this is a black fox - black foxes do have black tails with a white tip but that does not necessarily mean this is a black fox.

"It's difficult to tell from the photo - it could be a domestic fox that has been kept as a pet but I wouldn't rule out it being a red fox with a black tail.

"Black foxes are very rare but there has been an increase in recent years in the number of sightings."