TWO walkers and a passer-by had to be rescued by firefighters after becoming stuck knee deep in mud.

Firefighters were forced to dig one woman out with their hands after she became trapped in mud in a sodden field.

Two women, believed to be in their late 60s, called firefighters after becoming stuck while out walking.

A passer-by, a man in his 50s, tried to help the pair but also became stuck and was advised to stay where he was by emergency services to stop him getting any deeper into the mire.

Two firefighter crews from Lewes and Uckfield, a technical rescue unit and an animal rescue team were all called to the scene in Whiteway Lane outside Iford near Rodmell at 2pm yesterday afternoon.

Firefighters were at the scene for more than two hours using inflatable rescue paths to get 25 metres across the boggy field to rescue the three stricken people from the quagmire caused by a spring and the heavy rain.

One of the women declined paramedics’ offer of hospital treatment for the effects of cold while the other two were discharged at the scene.

The rescue caused long tailbacks as emergency vehicles blocked the winding country lanes.

David Washington, watch commander at Lewes Fire Station, said: “It’s an unusual event. From looking at the field, they would not have known it was that bad.

“It is an unfortunate circumstance due to the wet weather we have been having lately.

“The women were well kitted out and seemed to know the area.”

A neighbour living close to the incident said: “I saw the firefighters and they were covered head to toe in mud and they had some sort of inflatable mat laid out.

“There’s not a footpath through that field. It’s OK for farm workers but I don’t know what walkers would be doing there.”