Squirrel eating chips
A squirrel (not Cyril) enjoys some chips Getty Images

Hundreds have signed a petition to save a neighbourhood squirrel from a contract killing after a local resident discovered that someone had allegedly called pest control to do away with the "friendly squirrel". At the time of writing, over 600 people have signed the online petition to save the squirrel that lives in Woolwich's Royal Arsenal Riverside.

"He doesn't harm anyone and is in no way a pest," says the petition. "In fact, he brightens a lot of people's days." People also mentioned that the community had grown so fond of the squirrel they had given it a name − Cyril.

One commentator said that the squirrel is regularly seen at the area's thinkerdoer studio, "getting a daily fix of his favourite meal − hazelnuts!" Another said that he is the "friendliest squirrel in the world". Videos on social media show Cyril interacting with humans in the area and jumping for nuts.

"It appears some scoundrels in the apartments above have complained he's been hiding nuts in their pot plants and want him killed," said Anthony Coyne, adding that having Cyril removed would be "an assassination ultimately paid for by us residents!"

The petition, started by Denna Giddons, will be handed to Rendall & Ritter, who manage the property. The petition suggests that local residents are very attached to the nutty critter: "Cyril is very much part of the community and to lose him would be a great shame."