A DUCK that was balanced precariously in the overflow of a pond in Westhoughton was rescued by firefighters.

A fire engine from Leigh was called to the water near Abelia Road off Leigh Road at about 17.50pm yesterday.

The mallard was guarding a dead chick and was stuck in a dangerous position in an underground culvert.

Firefighters tried to reach the duck using a ladder, but were unable to reach it and called for support from their specialist water incident unit.

Crew manager Gabs Campbell said: "The duck was marooned really and was stuck in a fairly dangerous position.

"Obviously it wasn't in any immediate danger but any member of the public trying to free the mallard would have got into some real trouble.

"We were going to deploy the boat but we managed to get down to the water and free the duck before it was checked over by the RSPCA and then freed into a safer part of the water."