A student told yesterday how she had her car dismantled when her new HAMSTER escaped inside it – on her way back from the pet shop.
Fran Elkington, 33, lost her new pet Willow during her 15 minute journey home from the pet shop when it escaped from its cardboard box.
She refused to use her Volkswagen Beetle for five days – abandoning lectures and cancelling family meetings.
Mechanics then had to dismantle the #6,000 motor, taking out the back seats, back panels – and even one of the doors.
When mechanics found pesky Willow comfortably nestled between the back seats and the boot the creature melted their hearts and they waved the #300 bill.
Relieved Fran yesterday (Tues) told of her double fear her new pet would perish – or EAT the inside of her car.
She said: “I tried everything to get her out, even a humane rat trap but after five days drastic action had to be taken.
“I couldn’t just let her live in my car and destroy it from the inside out.
“I put food down because I didn’t want her to starve to death, and as the days went on the food and water was disappearing so I knew she was in there somewhere, munching away.
“She shredded the upholstery all around her to make a nest, eventually we found a trail that led behind the back seat and under the floor of the boot.
“It’s such a girly embarrassing thing to have to go to a garage with but she was just too clever for me.
“It took three mechanics an hour and a half to get her out but they were great, they didn’t charge me a penny in the end because they were laughing too hard.”
Willow escaped just minutes after she was bought by Fran from the Pets at Home store in Letchworth Garden City, Herts., on February 19.
The wildlife and marine biology student knew the rodent was still inside her car five days later because the food and water she was leftout for it had gone.
On February 24 desperate Fran took her car to mechanics at Letchworth Volkswagen garage, who spent 90 minutes taking it apart until they found Willow “blinking” back at them inside.
Mechanic Graham Day said: “The hamster didn’t attempt to run away, she just stared at me blinking a little in the light.
“I had to coax her out of her new home – she seemed to be pretty happy there.
“She had made a lovely nest using some of the back seat fabric, seat belt, carpet and underlay.
“She seemed very cosy.”
After the successful rescue the Volkswagen team put Fran’s car back together for her free of charge.
Fran added: “Willow’s certainly not going anywhere near the car again.”