A young puppy has been reunited with her owner after going missing under a Whitley Bay school.
Nine-month-old Ella, a Patterdale Terrier, was at the centre of the rescue operation after getting trapped last Wednesday night in the drainage system under Monkseaton High School.
She had been walking with owner Andrew Kelly, of North Shields, when she followed a scent into a gully.
Andrew said: “I was absolutely devastated when Ella went missing, I really thought she was gone forever.
“After trying for ages to get her out, by shouting her name and leaving food for her, I had to leave as I work night shifts. My friends went along but could only hear her cries.”
After meeting school caretaker Nikky Boak the next morning, more staff from North Tyneside Council were called out.
Dog wardens Paul Broadbent and Russell Lockie and animal health inspector Paul Tyrie got drainage plans from the school so they could work out were the drains ran and find where the manhole covers were located.
Andrew added: “They lifted up several drainage covers – the drains look like they go on forever. But luckily, she was down one of them – 150 metres from where she entered it.
“Ella is completely fine after her night away.
“I couldn’t be happier to have her back and I’d like to say a huge thank-you to everyone involved, they all went out of their way to help.”
Northumbrian Water and Capita’s drainage contractor, HCS, were on standby to provide camera equipment to find Ella in the system. Fortunately, it was not needed but staff assisted the council in lifting up the drain covers.
Cara Charlton, assistant PR and media manager at Northumbrian Water, said: “We appreciate how much pets mean to people – it was really good we were able to do our bit to help Mr Kelly find Ella.”
Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I am delighted to hear that lovely little Ella has been safely reunited with the Kelly family.
“I’d like to also say a big thank you to our dog wardens, the animal welfare officer and the school caretaker, who all worked extremely hard to find this adventurous puppy.
“They have given this story a very happy ending.”