IT’S never a dull day as a firefighter and one Barrow crew had a ‘first’ when they rescued a fox from a wastewater treatment works.

United Utilities worker Steve Cooper spotted the stricken fox inside one of the deep empty tanks at the works in Rampside Road on Thursday.

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The RSPCA delivered a humane trap, which Mr Cooper duly laced with bones and meat, but sadly the sly fox was too scared to take the bait.

“I’ve been watching it all day and night but it just stayed in the corner where it felt safe,” Mr Cooper, 68, said.

Yesterday morning firefighters from Barrow headed to the site to work alongside RSPCA officers and UU employees to try and rescue the fox.

The wily fox did not appear to be injured as it made several daring attempts to run and jump out of the tank.

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Firefighters and the RSPCA officers carefully climbed into the tank before setting up the trap and holding a sheet of tarpaulin in a bid to stop the fox from evading capture.

After slowly edging their way towards the cornered animal the two experienced RSPCA officers made their move and managed to catch the fox in a net.

It was placed inside the trap and then winched out of the tank before being safely released back into the wild.

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The officers explained the fox - an adult male, had only suffered slightly scuffed paws and the best thing would be to release it.

“It would be traumatic for the fox for us to take it away and if we did have to check it over we would have to sedate it which would also distress the fox,” one officer said at the scene.

Mr Cooper, who has worked at the site for most of his working life, said: “We see lots of animals down here including badgers and foxes.

“I’m so pleased it was a happy ending.”

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Fire boss Ian Westall, who acted as incident commander, said the crew had dubbed the animal callout Operation Foxtrot.

“When it comes to animal rescues it’s not just about cats stuck in trees,” he said.

“We attend animal rescues when requested by the RSPCA and we’re all delighted the fox is now free.”

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