A brave firefighter faced razor-sharp talons as he rescued a bird of prey - ensnared in a TV aerial.

Concerned residents called the RSPCA after seeing the kestrel trapped on the roof at around 9.49am today (Saturday, November 22).

Firefighters were called to the house in Station Road, Ellesmere Port, and one courageous firefighter came eyeball to eyeball with the bird as he tried to rescue it from its trap.

Paul Long, who is based at Ellesmere Port fire station, endured a tricky balancing act as he attempted to free the kestrel, which was dangling by its feet from the aerial.

The bird had been trapped for around half an hour, after plastic tags attached to its legs became entwined in the object.

But during a elaborate rescue, which lasted just over an hour, firefighter Long managed to bring the bird back down to the ground safe and sound, after cutting through the aerial with a hack saw.

The trapped Kestrel in Station Road, Ellesmere Port

Crew manager Phillip Barney, of Blue Watch, described how he scaled the 10m ladder to get to the rooftop, but firefighter Long went up on to the roof ladder (a ladder with a hook on it that the firefighters have to be attached to) in order to rescue the bird.

"It wasn't easy. He was holding on to the ladder with one hand and cutting through the thick aerial with a hack saw with the other," he said.

"The kestrel was flapping around as all the ladders went up, but it calmed down, it seemed to know it was being rescued. It had a sharp beak and talons, it was about a foot from his face."

The bird, which is not thought to be wild and is believed to have escaped or been separated from its owner, was eventually handed down through a chain of firefighters into the arms of the female RSPCA officer.

Neither firefighter or kestrel was hurt in the incident.

A balancing act

"Usually when this happens they hurt their hips, and their legs, and their talons, or one of them, but luckily it was walking around fine," said crew manager Barney.

The kestrel is now in the care of the RSPCA.

It is not the first time this month that Cheshire firefighters have rescued an animal in danger - King Charles Spaniel Gabby-do was rescued from a house fire when crews fitting an alarm next door spotted the smoke.

And one brave little dog was rescued after spending three days trapped down a rabbit hole in Winsford.