More than 200 pets have been rescued by the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service over five years, figures from the Home Office show.

Between April 2012 and March 2017, the service rescued 299 animals - working out at almost one a week.

They included 161 pets, 80 livestock and 58 wild animals, including birds.

Just last week, fire crews in Gerrards Cross were called out to rescue three ducklings who had become stuck in a drain after a member of the public heard chirps.

Across England, there were over 23,000 callouts to save animals over the five-year period - an average of more than 4,500 a year.

Although the data does not state which animals were most commonly rescued, a previous freedom of information request showed that for many fire services, cats stuck up trees remained the most common animal rescue scenario.

Animals being trapped was the most common reason for animal-related callouts in Buckinghamshire between April 2012 and March 2017, accounting for 49 per cent of cases.

Other reasons included animals being stuck in water or mud or rescued from a height, or calls for assistance with lifting heavy animals.

On average, more than four firefighters dealt with each animal rescue. A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said that fire services often use the incidents for training purposes.

She said: "The RSPCA works very closely with the emergency services and the charity is always very grateful for any help it receives from them.

"Last year the RSPCA was called to collect or rescue 114,584 animals. In situations where RSPCA officers are unable to reach an animal that is trapped or injured, the animal charity can request the help of the fire and rescue service, though it is entirely up to them whether or not they attend.

"Some fire crews use animal rescues for training, but emergencies involving people will always take priority.

"In some cases, crews attend to minimise the risk of members of the public attempting to carry out rescues themselves and potentially putting themselves in danger."