A RESCUE operation to free a frightened fox left a kitchen ceiling peppered with holes.
A fox had crawled through a vent and become trapped in the kitchen roof space at the home of Jim and Linda Jones in Knowles Street. Surveying the remains of his ceiling, Mr Jones said: "It's a bit smashed up, but not to worry. It's got the fox out. It was an energetic little animal, but it was scared and shaking a bit."
The couple thought the scratching noise they could hear was a cat. But, when Mr Jones knocked a hole in the ceiling and shone in a torch, he found a fox staring back at him. R. S. P. C. A. inspector Dave Anforth suspected the call-out might be a wind-up when he saw a fox-head knocker on the front door! "I looked through the hole in the ceiling and, lo and behold, a fox was looking back at us," he added.
Builder John Kelly was called in to take off some roof tiles and - several holes and hiding places later - the fox bolted out through the roof.
Inspector Anforth caught it with a noose in a neighbouring backyard, but it slipped the grasper and ran off before he could transfer it to a cage. He said: "It's probably the best thing it's back in its natural environment. The house owner was very co-operative and took time off work to help."
Mr Jones, who works at Gaskell Carpets, Rishton, said: "I don't think they believed me at first. They will when they see the newspaper tonight!"
A few sightings of the fox, thought to have been scared by motorway construction work, had been reported in and about the Rishton area.
On Friday 07 February 1997, Mr & Mrs Jones responded with this letter; WE are the "fox in the roof" couple and would like to thank R. S. P. C. A. Inspector Dave Anforth for his sterling work in rescuing the fox. The R. S. P. C. A. paid for the damage to the roof to be repaired, providing an excellent service. We would also like to thank the builder, Mr John Kelly, for coming out at short notice.
JIM and LINDA JONES, Knowles Street, Rishton.
Lancashire evening Telegraph, Friday 31 January 1997, 7th February 1997.