Firefighters have been called to 153 animal rescues in Croydon in the last six years.

The figures released by the London Fire Brigade mark the launch of it's first ever animal rescue campaign in partnership with the RSPCA, called I'm An Animal, Get Me Out of Here.

The campaign aims to remind people to think carefully before dialling 999 when they see an animal in difficulty.

Over the last two years, fire crews in Croydon have attended a number of animal related incidents.

Firefighters have been called to rescue a kitten trapped in a reclining chair, a cat trapped behind a wardrobe, a cat up a tree, a dog trapped in a fence and a squirrel stuck in a boiler.

Chris Bigland, the Brigade's Borough Commander for Croydon said: "We want to dispel the old stereotype about firefighters rescuing cats from trees, our crews are highly trained emergency service personnel.

"If there is a cat up a tree or an animal stuck anywhere, the first port of call should always be the RSPCA, not the emergency services.

"What is worrying is when firefighters are out rescuing animals, they are then not available to attend real emergencies.

"Each animal rescue costs money and in these tough financial times, I can't imagine many people would want their taxes being spent on some of the animal rescues we have highlighted."

Klare Kennett, spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: "We would always advise people to call us in the first instance and if we need help we will call the fire brigade."

For more information about the campaign visit