A father rescued his children's pet hamster from a deep-water pipe by fashioning a metre long ladder out of chicken wire. The animal had been trapped for three days.
Ingenious Andy Sykes had nearly given up trying to save his kids' furry friend Fang when he hit upon the idea of using chicken wire to provide the critter with climbing apparatus to escape from a dingy kitchen pipe.
Six-month-old Fang had originally got stuck in the plumbing when he was playing with Sykes' children and made a dash for it towards the skirting boards.
Mr Sykes, from Chadderton, told The Manchester Evening News: "Out of the corner of my eye I could see him pottering about in his exercise ball. But when I looked again I realised he was in the corner of the kitchen.
"I jumped up and went to grab him but he slipped through my fingers behind the cupboards. I didn't know how to reach him."
"We pulled out the washing machine and went in behind the cupboards. We were using our phones as torches to try and find him but he had disappeared."
Days later the family heard scratching coming from the coming from a pipe under the kitchen sink. Sykes said: "I looked closer and saw that he had chewed his way down. I knew he had to be there and I began shining by phone and tapping the pipe.
"Then I saw his head pop up and he was at the bottom scurrying around. I was really excited he was alive because I hadn't seen him for two days. My son had been tipping food down the hole so he didn't starve."
Having set eyes on Fang, the Sykes family scratched their heads to come up with a way of freeing him from the piping, which was 1.2m deep. Sykes said: "We had to be as creative as possible."
After a few false starts, Sykes hit on the idea of an improvised miniature ladder composed of chicken wire. He cut a piece and sent it towards desperate Fang.
He said: "I don't know how but that eventually worked and as he came out I grabbed him and actually told him he was beautiful! My children were so happy they were jumping up and down."