PATCH the Jack Russell has an extraordinary ‘tail’ to tell after he went missing and turned up eight miles away at his mum’s front door.

The little five-year-old was out walking in Hall i'th' Wood on Sunday evening when he got lost in the woodland.

His family desperately searched for him to no avail . . . but the next morning he was found sitting on the doorstep of his mum’s Bess's home in Westhoughton.

Patch has lived with Lisa and John Hilton and their children Annabel, aged 15, Oscar, aged 12, and Millie, aged nine, since he was a puppy while Bess, aged 12, lives with Lisa’s father, Edward Horrocks, aged 90.

The family, who live in Crompton Way, were shocked and delighted to discover he was safe and sound, but are completely amazed by the unusual journey.

Mrs Hilton, aged 47, said: “It has been a traumatic experience, but we are so glad it's a happy ending to the story.

“We have always gone to my dad’s house in a car. Sometimes the windows are open and maybe that’s what led him there.

“I said to the kids, 'when you are vulnerable who do you want? It’s your mum'.

“That little dog of ours, we can’t believe he made it all that way and what he might have gone through.

“We don’t know how many miles he ran, but he’s absolutely exhausted now.

“When you think about all the roads and roundabouts he would have had to cross without getting run over. He’s our little hero!”

Patch — who is microchipped — was walking in the woods off-lead with Mr Hilton, aged 53, when he disappeared at around 4pm. Panicked, the family gathered around to hunt for him, handing out numbers to passing dog walkers and posting Patch’s picture on Facebook.

Meanwhile its believed the dog made his way to Crompton Way and started his journey west.

It is not known exactly what route he took, but his family believe he could have travelled along part of Moss Bank Way and through Johnson Fold before arriving in Westhoughton some time between midnight and 6am.

Arriving at Landedmans, a neighbour spotted Patch sitting obediently outside Mr Horrocks’s front door.

That morning, after a sleepless night of worry, Mrs Hilton received a call from her dad.

She said: “He asked if I was sitting down and I thought the worst. He then said ‘You’ll never guess who’s sitting next to me!’

“It went from tears to thinking what a clever dog we have got. He wasn’t hurt, just a little shocked and tired.

“We are thrilled he’s back home and just hope he doesn’t do it again!”