Entrants were asked to submit shots of scenery, or animals living in their natural environment.

The Warwickshire photographer, who also works in IT, captured the image at the Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve in Coventry using a Canon EOS 650D and Tamron 90mm macro lens.

The contest was organised by the Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers, which awarded Neil a year’s membership as his prize.

Neil told Amateur Photographer: ‘When I got the email this morning I was absolutely delighted.

‘It has made my year to win such a competition because it’s what you aim for as a photographer – to see that someone recognises your work.

‘Needless to say, I have told everyone else at work and on Twitter, Facebook and so on.’

Commenting on the winning shot, the Society’s CEO Phil Jones: ‘This image has captured the theme in its entirety.

‘The photograph has a very strong narrative as the decisive moment and it has been excellently captured.’

On his website, Neil writes: ‘What started out as a hobby has developed into my career – and I am fortunate that my job is something I am so passionate about.

‘Not many people can have that feeling of satisfaction from the work they do.’

Neil, who says he has a diverse range of clients, adds: ‘I love meeting new people and taking on new photographic challenges (not great with heights, though, suffering from vertigo).’

The runners-up were Priyam Chakraborty from India and Andy Taylor from Essex.