A DEHYDRATED cat in distress at Greenwich was one of the animal rescues fire crews have been called to this year.

The London Fire Brigade says call outs to animal rescues in the capital has fallen by half over the past year since it campaigned to reduce non-emergency call outs.

They have asked people to call the RSPCA in the first instance if they see an animal in difficulty, rather than dialling 999.

Other calls included a hamster trapped in a hole in Islington and a bird stuck in a Lambeth trampoline.

Previous calls to Greenwich fire crews included an adult hamster trapped in a disabled lift.

London Fire Brigade group manager Mark Hazelton said: "As well as being time consuming, animal rescues cost the tax payer and I’m sure most people would prefer their money was being spent on training or fire prevention work, than cats up trees."