RESCUED: how rail, gas and RSPCA teams played a part in freeing ducklings trapped underground in Merseyside

helping our community

Six ducklings trapped underground in a remote area of Merseyside were reunited with their mother after a rescue involving rail, gas, and RSPCA teams.
The baby birds had fallen through a grid inside a compound that belongs to Cadent, the company which manages the area’s gas distribution network.
Workers on rail lines adjacent to the site in Melling realised something was wrong after hearing the mother duck’s distress calls. They rang the RSPCA.
This compound is securely locked and fenced off. So, the animal welfare team got in touch with Cadent, which dispatched two of its engineers to the scene.
RSPCA animal rescue officer Kathryn Kellegher said: “A railway worker saw six ducklings were in trouble under a gas grid behind a metal fenced area and reported the matter to us.
“I could not get into the fenced off area so called Cadent, who sent two workers out to help me. They were amazing – one lifted the grate while the other helped me using a net to round up the ducklings. All the while, their worried mum looked on.
"During the rescue she was calling to them and they were calling back. I placed the ducklings in a box and walked to a nearby pond with mum following behind. I then released them, and they swam off happily together - it was lovely to see.
“We work closely with partnership agencies on some rescues and we’re always incredibly grateful for any help we receive from them.”
Darren Bohanna and George Gresty were the two Cadent engineers involved.
Darren said: “It was certainly a very different emergency call-out for us, not what we’re used to doing or something I’ve ever had to do before.
“Kathryn, the RSPCA officer, had some fishing nets and we had to coax the ducklings into them.
“There was no way out otherwise and it was great to be able to reunite them with their mother.”
Anyone who is concerned for the welfare of an animal or who sees an animal in distress, like these ducklings, should call the RSPCA 0300 1234 999.


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

Cadent Gas Ltd is owned by a consortium of global investors.

*All calls are recorded and may be monitored.

Media contacts

Kevin Hegarty

07970 694897