AN ELDERLY couple had to be rescued after spending two hours stuck in mud that was four-feet deep.

Eighteen firefighters were involved in the operation to free the pair, in woodland near Beaulieu.

Former Hampshire county councillor Brian Dash and his wife Rosemary had gone for a walk when they became trapped.

Mr Dash said he had been “chastened” by the experience but praised the actions of the emergency services.

As reported earlier, the 73-year-old said he and his 74-year-old wife set off for an afternoon stroll from their home in Hythe midway through Sunday afternoon.

They drove to Pig Bush before beginning their walk, but as they walked across land near to Bishop's Dyke they came into difficulty.

Mr Dash said: “We got across the railway line underpass but it then became a bit boggy so we made for a line of trees, going from tuft to tuft.

“But then we got stuck. I was thinking 'I'm stupid'.

“We couldn't move our feet at all.”

Luckily he had his mobile phone to hand, and called the emergency services at about 5.30pm.

Two police officers were first on the scene, but seeing how deep the mud was they waited for Hampshire Fire and Rescue to arrive.

Eighteen firefighters from a number of different stations across Hampshire were called to the scene, and rescued the couple using an inflatable walkway.

Having been stuck in the mud for two hours, they were checked over by paramedics and then driven home by a police officer.

Speaking the morning after, Mr Dash, who retired after the last county council elections, said: “It was a chastening experience.

“We had just gone for an after-lunch walk which went pear-shaped.

“I couldn't believe just how good the emergency services were - they were absolutely amazing.”

Mr Dash, who previously represented Dibden and Hythe for the Liberal Democrats, added: “The police, the firemen, the ambulance crews, they were all there cheerfully sorting out my stupidity.

“The ambulance crew checked us but they should have given me a brain scan.

“You can't trust a retired politician stuck in a bog.”