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13 April 2011, 08:54 | Updated: 13 April 2011, 08:57
A fox cub has had a lucky escape after it got stuck in a storm drain in Fareham and had to be rescued by firefighters.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service scrambled its animal rescue specialist after receiving a report that a puppy had fallen into the drain in the Heathfield area.
But when Buster Brown arrived at the scene yesterday morning (11th April) he was surprised to find a young fox instead of a dog.
He said: “I was called to investigate a puppy which had fallen into a storm drain as one of the neighbours had heard the pup barking somewhere in the drains outside their house.
“I was able to lift a drain cover on the roadside and, using a torch and a mirror to reflect the image back, I was able to see the animal - it was a very young fox cub.
“As I was unable to reach I went to Fareham Fire Station and collected two sets of chimney rods and planned to open up the main manhole cover and rod the drain and persuade the cub to fall into a catch net in the drain.
“However, upon my return I was unable to reach the cub and from its barking it appeared to have moved further up the road away from the open end of the drain system.”
Mr Brown, helped by a fire crew from Fareham Fire Station, then attempted to flood the drain in a bid to flush the cub along and to catch it in a net.
However this did not appear to work and eventually the fox appeared next to the hose being used to pump in the water.
Watch manager Ian Cambridge said: “Just as the hose was pulled out of the drain the little fox cub's head appeared from the very drain hole we had pumped the water into.
“One of the firefighters quickly grabbed the animal and it was carefully placed into a waiting cage.”
After a quick check from an RSPCA inspector the cub was taken to Stubbington Ark Animal Shelter to recover from its ordeal.