AN ANIMAL rescue vehicle is now based at Basingstoke fire station.

Specialist equipment in the vehicle, which is dedicated to freeing animals, can be used to free horses trapped in cattle grids or cows stuck in slurry.

The vehicle is the second of its kind to be introduced in Hampshire, with the first based at Lyndhurst fire station.

Jim Green, Hampshire’s animal rescue manager, said: “Incidents involving animals are now relatively common.

“We deal with around one large trapped animal each week, along with other regular incidents where the involvement of animals places the public and rescuers at risk. This new addition to our fleet will increase our resilience to be able to deal humanely and safely with animal incidents across Hampshire.”

Animal rescue is recognised as one of the most dangerous activities firefighters undertake, so specialised training is essential to equip crews with the knowledge and skills to deal with unpredictable situations.

Mr Green said that although the new vehicle provided an improved response, preventing incidents in the first place was always the priority.

He added: “Our animal rescue teams have been providing training to owners, particularly of horses, not only on how to reduce the chance of a problem occurring, but what to do if the worst happens, how to react and who to call.”

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