Two dogs had a lucky escape after becoming stuck in a badger sett for more than seven hours.
The Jack Russells were rescued by firefighters who dug a hole six feet down into the ground in order to reach the distressed pets.
Sammy, 10, and Dude, six, became trapped after jumping into the setts on land on Mansion Hill, Halton.
Danny Whitelock, watch manager at Bucks Fire and Rescue, which was asked for assistance by the RSPCA, sai d: “We asked the landowner to blow a whistle to make the dogs bark so we could locate the four holes.
“We heard a faint barking noise so that told us the dog was a long way down. As we kept digging down the barking got louder so we knew we were getting closer. We had to dig down about six feet to get to the dogs and then we had to dig around them so as not to harm them before we were able to pull them out.”
He added the dogs were lucky the badgers were not at home: “In the worst case scenario the dogs could have died because badgers can be quite aggressive.”
The crew used a high-tech snake eye camera mounted on a rod which was placed down the hole and fed images of the animals back to a computer monitor.
The rescue mission was held-up by the need to obtain permission from the authorities to disturb the badger sett, which is protected by law.
A spokesman added: “We would encourage dog owners to be aware of the dangers of their animals getting stuck in badger setts, but also the complications that can be involved if they have to be rescued.”