An elderly gelding has been rescued from a mine shaft in his field in Gateshead after a four-hour operation

A horse which fell down what is thought to be a mine shaft in his field in Gateshead is making a good recovery after a four-hour joint rescue between the police, the army, nearby workmen and a vet.

Police were called to a field at the top of Townley Terrace, in High Spen, by the distressed owner of 18-year-old15hh Storm, who was only visible by his head, chest and forelegs after becoming stuck in a hole, measuring 2m long by 2m wide and 2m deep. It is thought that he had fallen in sometime during the night.

A vet administered a tranquilliser to the distressed Storm while the operation to lift him out began. A nearby JCB digger was used to enlarge the hole, while military staff worked furiously to dig away loose soil.

Police chief inspector Ralph Logan at Gateshead West area command,said: “The military, nearby workmen and the vet all worked tirelessly to help save this horse, in dangerous circumstances; they had to support his neck and head in spite of a large mechanical digger working alongside them and at any moment the horse could have kicked out.This was a huge team effort which lasted about four hours.”

Storm was kept under close observation for 12 hours after his ordeal and is now said to be feeling much better.