A SIX-YEAR-OLD horse called Romeo had to be dramatically rescued from the River Dearne by firefighters in Barnsley.

The horse was stuck down a steep bank close to Smithies Lane, Smithies, with seemingly no route of escape, a 999 call at around 10am on Friday morning said.

The RSPCA attended to check its welfare and the animal was sedated by a vet while firefighters dug through the river bank to create an escape route for the horse.

Just under two hours later the horse was freed, led to safety using harnesses and apparently none the worse for its ordeal.

Cudworth, Edlington, Aston Park and Tankersley fire crews performed the rescue.

Station manager Simon Dillon said: "This wasn't an easy rescue at all, and our firefighters worked extremely hard to dig away the bank. The large tree roots in the banking made that really difficult, but we got there in the end."

"Once out, he trotted over to his owner and let out a nay of thanks to the crews. He was checked over at the scene by the vet and other than a couple of scapes where he had tried to get out himself, he was unharmed by the experience."