This shocking photo shows the tragic reality of a "massive problem" with plastic waste - as a seagull ended up hanging by the NECK from a plastic bag caught in a fence.

The graphic picture was shared on Facebook by a resident who came across the dead bird, which had effectively hanged itself on some razor wire at the top of the fence.

It shows the helpless seagull hanging, with its beak open and wings limp, from the handles of the plastic bag, which had become tangled in the wire fence.

Andy Keirle, from Somerset, shared the photo on Facebook page Bridgwater Matters on Tuesday "to share the fact that there's a massive problem with plastic materials."

He wrote on Facebook: "I stopped off for fuel at Bristol Road fuel station in Bridgwater and saw yet another victim of too much plastic waste.

"It was already dead when I got there, and was causing a bit of a crowd at 7am in the morning. How it happened is beyond me."

He added: "On my own I make little effect, but a lot of us can make a massive difference."

The post has been liked over 160 times since Tuesday night and has received over 80 comments from people distressed by the graphic photo.

Jane Ashford, also of Bridgwater, commented: "This is horrible. This is a perfect picture to show the impact of plastic waste, this is why lids need to be able to shut on bins."

And Andy responded: "Yes this is why I posted it, in Canada they have special bins to stop the bears rummaging through and therefore they move on.

"The same goes for seagulls, if it’s tidy they will move on."

Zara Louise Williams, from Taunton wrote: "It must have been struggling for a while. And nothing was done. Poor gull, an awful way to go."

And Mickey Cee, who lives in Portugal, added: "The working life of a plastic bag is around 25 minutes, from shop to car to home, but the bag's lifetime is over 100 yrs.

"We all need to do something."

Every two hours, the RSPCA answers a call about an animal that has been harmed by rubbish - with 5,081 calls about animals affected by litter in 2017.

Llewelyn Lowen, RSPCA wildlife scientific information officer, said: "It’s shocking how many litter-related incidents we see, particularly as these kinds of animal injuries and deaths are entirely avoidable .

"It is good that there’s a global spotlight on how we use and dispose of plastic and other litter so that people understand how their rubbish is affecting animals and the environment.

For more advice on how you can help, visit the RSPCA’s ‘How littering affects wildlife’ webpage.

If you see an animal in distress, please call the RSPCA’s 24-hour helpline on 0300 1234 999.