Six horses have been rescued from neck-high floodwater in Greater Manchester after the river Roch burst its banks.

The RSPCA along with Manchester Fire and Rescue went to the horses’ aid horses in Rochdale on Friday night (22 June).

Concerned members of the public called the RSPCA at 8pm when the horses were already fighting to stand up in the current.

Less than half an hour later, when Manchester Fire and Rescue Service launched boats to reach them, the horses were up to their necks in water.

The fire brigade took two boats out onto the swollen river and cut through the fences containing the horses. Firefrighters then put head collars on the animals before wading through the water to lead them out.

RSPCA inspector Charlotte Brooker said: “We were on high alert with the flooding but I was still shocked when I arrived to see ponies in danger of drowning.

“Members of the public said it had happened very suddenly over a period of about an hour. We got one pony out just as the water was reaching her muzzle.

“We had to improvise and put the horses in nearby gardens and backyards. Once they were towel dried and offered food and water they seemed none the worse for their ordeal. The rescue would have been impossible without Manchester Fire and Rescue – they did an outstanding job.”

Four dogs were also rescued.