RESCUERS have abandoned their efforts to save a dog who fell down a 10m deep hole on a mountain in Blaenau Gwent.

Tilly was lost in Mynydd James on Sunday, but was located on Monday after a search involving cavers, local residents and South Wales Fire & Rescue Service.

Gary Mitchell, chairman of South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team, said Tilly was located thanks to thermal imaging.

He said: “On Tuesday morning, a small contingent from our rescue team was deployed to make an assessment and other agencies were involved such as the RSCPA.

“Two of our members went down the hole as much as they could – but it narrowed so much they could not go any further.

“They went about eight metres down, they were about two metres from the bottom.

“They tried calling the dog, who was also encouraged with dog food and a hooked pole.”

Mr Mitchell said that, had Tilly been visible, they would have got him out.

He said: “After an extended effort of 20 minutes, the tough decision that there was nothing more we could do had to be made. Many of the team are dog owners and dog lovers and the decision to end the operation was not taken lightly.”

A spokesman for the RSPCA said this is an “absolutely awful” situation.

He said: “Our hearts goes out to Tilly’s owners.

“RSPCA Cymru officers, along with the fire service, caving experts and others, have been working tirelessly in the hope of helping poor Tilly - who became stuck down a deep hole on the side of a Blaina mountain.

“She became trapped down an extremely deep fissure and, despite numerous and varied attempts to reach Tilly, tragically rescue efforts have not been successful.

“We, and other agencies, have spoken with Tilly's owners and share their sadness that we are unable to save her, despite the exhaustive efforts of numerous rescue agencies.”

Ian Fewings, of Aberystruth History and Archaeology Society, regularly takes people on tours of Mynydd James.

He said that, after this incident, they have decided they will be putting signs up in the area next week.

Mr Fewings said: “The top of Mynydd James is very dangerous.

"If you don’t know the area, please don’t walk up there without a guide.”