FIREFIGHTERS are used to rescuing cats stuck up a tree.

However, one crew was called out to free a moggy who was wedged in a tiny gap between two garages on a Hampshire estate.

The cat, Bert, is thought to have been chasing a mouse when he became stuck fast.

Michael and Glenys Howe were walking near their home yesterday when they discovered that their pet was in a tight spot.

Mr Howe, 64, of Cordelia Close, Dibden, said: "We heard a very loud meow and saw that Bert was trapped between our garage and the one next door.

"The entrance was only four inches wide and the exit was even narrower.

"The firefighters had to knock a hole in the wall of our garage to get him out."

Mr Howe also took part in the rescue, placing a broom in front of the cat to prevent him crawling forward and getting into an even worse predicament.

Bert is thought to have been trapped for about an hour after going in search of a tasty morsel.

He was freed by watch manager Anton Phillips, one of Hampshire's rural safety officers, who used a variety of tools to free the moggy.

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "Bert is believed to have been chasing a mouse when he climbed through a four-inch gap and became trapped.

"Watch Manager Phillips placed tea towels over the cat's head to keep him calm and arranged for the owner to place a broom between the garages to prevent the animal moving any further forward.

"He then used a hammer and chisel to free him from the tightly-confined space."

Bert's vet later gave him a clean bill of health but Mr Howe said the cat was left feeling "a bit stressed out" after his ordeal.