A PUB-GOER called for police assistance after a squirrel jumped into her handbag.
The woman was enjoying a quiet drink outside the Shropshire Arms in Northgate Street, Chester, when the cheeky rodent made a beeline for her.
A police officer was called on to help detach the creature – and eventually persuaded it to move along.
Bar manager Tom Harley told the Leader: “We’ve never known anything like this to happen before – it’s nuts!
“She was just outside having a drink and it jumped into her handbag.
“We don’t usually get problems with squirrels as we’re a fair way away from foliage and trees.
“We think it latched on to her as she walked through the cathedral grounds and then wouldn’t leave her alone.”
Det Con Nigel Thake, dubbed ‘Dr Doolittle’ by colleagues on Twitter, attended the scene and “released the squirrel back into the wild” at about 7.40pm on Thursday, a police spokesman said.
Janet Wickens, of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, was less amused by the incident and had her own explanation for the animal’s actions.
“It’s most likely it was looking for food as they are known scavengers,” she said.
“Maybe it could smell a chocolate bar or something in the bag.
“Grey squirrels are vermin and they are the only reason why we are losing red squirrels.
“They have no right to be in the UK and should be destroyed.”
She added: “It’s actually illegal to release a grey squirrel into the wild so the action of that police officer is against the law.
“Once you have hold of one you are legally bound to kill the animal.”
But the police spokesman added: “I’m sure the squirrel in this case had managed to escape before a cage could be found.”
See full story in the Chester Leader