A Hartlepool homeowner was woken up by loud banging and the sound of her burglar alarm going off - and discovered that a squirrel had rampaged through her living room, causing £7000 of damage.
Margaret Bousfield, 64, managed to find a neighbour who opened a window to let the animal escape, but not before it had destroyed her curtains, furniture, carpets and sofa.
The squirrel apparently fell down the chimney whilst trying to find a build a home, and it is believed that it may have landed on its head, knocked itself unconscious and then awoken in a disoriented state
"The first thing I heard was the burglar alarm go off as it woke me up." said Margaret. "My first thought was that someone was downstairs. My neighbour entered the room holding a cushion to his chest. The squirrel was going wild but he managed to open a window and it was covered in dirt and it shot from the house like a bullet."
Describing the carnage, she said: "The room's smell was a combination of smoky soot from the fire, squirrel urine and pollen and stale water from a knocked over lily vase. The disruption was unbelievable. My first thought was 'I'll just clean this up'. I didn't realise how long the damage would take to sort."