WHAT do you do when your six-week-old kitten gets locked in a strongbox?

For Nikita Marsh, the owner of Misty, the answer was simple — drive to the fire station for help.

Misty was rescued by felineloving Farnworth firefighters after she became trapped inside the safe.

Now the young couple who own the cat have thanked the fire service for cutting her free.

Nikita, and Ashley Jevons, of Campbell Street, Farnworth, turned up at the local fire station with Misty locked inside the safe on Monday night.

Fortunately, the safe was not airtight as the kitten could be heard meowing through the keyhole. Using a special metal saw, the firefighters delicately cut the sides of the safe to weaken the hinges.

Then, with a hydraulic spreader normally used for cutting people out of cars in road accidents, they slowly opened the welded seams of the steel casing to free the kitten.

Nikita, aged 18, said: “Ashley had opened the safe to take out the batteries for the TV remote or something and the door was open. The kitten climbed in and I was keeping my eye on her. But then, Ashley’s brother, Nathan, came along and closed the door, not realising that Misty was inside.

“We were really panicking and didn’t know what to do.”

Ashley, aged 22, and Nathan, aged 20, used crowbars and screwdrivers to try to open the safe, but nothing was working.

Panic-stricken Nikita rushed to a nearby relative’s house with the safe and they drove to the fire station for help.

It took the firefighters about 30 minutes to free Misty, who was carefully handled through the small opening and given back to the relieved owners.

Watch manager Darren Banks said: “It was one of those batteryoperated safes and someone had accidentally shut the door.

“It was securely locked and they’d realised that they didn’t have right things to get it out.”

Nikita said: “I took it to the station because I knew they had the equipment for cutting metal.

“But it was so noisy and I couldn’t watch them do it because I was scared for Misty. I can’t thank the firefighters enough for what they did. Misty was a bit shocked afterwards but we’re just relieved that she’s safe.”