CROWDS gathered in Burton on Saturday to watch the rescue of seven horses from a flooded field.

Many had become increasingly concerned about the welfare of the animals, trapped by rising water in a field off Stony Lane.

But a daring twilight rescue by the RSPCA ensured that each horse was settling in to a new home by the evening that day.

Earlier, RSPCA Inspector Patrick Bailey urged well-wishers to stay away from the site.

“I appreciate and understand how concerned people are,” he said.

“But these horses are not used to being handled, and the number of people here is actually forcing them to an area of lands that we don’t want them to be on.”

The inspector said both the charity and the owner of the horses had been monitoring the situation since the River Avon flooded over the festive season.

He added: “We’ve been keeping an eye on this every day. The horses aren’t in immediate danger and we are in control of the situation.”

An 11-strong team of specially-trained water rescuers from the RSPCA visited the field in the afternoon, wading into the flood to help the animals.

A spokesman from the charity said the horses had become spooked by the number of people wishing to help, and moved into higher water.

“This is a very dangerous situation and one of the hardest types of rescues the RSPCA undertake,” he said. “The horses are wild and uncooperative, there is a fast flowing river next to the field and the field is flooded.”

Sam Groves, 43, of Broadstone, waited at the site all day until the horses were rescued and said: “A lot of people are here wanting to do anything they can to assist.”

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