Published: 12:45, 16 September 2020
| Updated: 12:47, 16 September 2020
A plucky hamster had a narrow escape from death in the back of a dustbin lorry after cruelly being dumped in the rubbish.
Just as bags of litter from communal bins were being crushed in Market Street, Herne Bay , yesterday morning an eagle-eyed Serco worker noticed something strange.
Martyn Eldridge, 59, was alerted to a tiny head poking out of an already squashed cage by his vigilant colleague Courteney Lawson.
"We were putting the bins in the back of the lorry and as we put them back we noticed a little head sticking out of the lorry on a bag," he said.
"We saw that it was a hamster. The cage was completely crushed and it had managed to get out.
"It disappeared into the back of the lorry so we turned the engine off, got the muck out and we found it right at the bottom.
"We picked it up and put it in a cardboard box. It was quite difficult to get hold of because it kept running about."
It took them about 20 minutes to finally grab hold of the nimble creature - but then they wondered what they would do with it.
Martyn, who has been doing the job for 10 years, said he has never found a live animal in the back of a lorry before and it is the weirdest thing he has discovered.
After putting it in the lorry cab as they continued their shift, Martyn phoned his partner Kym Amos to tell her about the discovery.
She told him to bring it back to their home in Hersden, near Canterbury, and said she would take care of it because she has had hamsters before.
Kym, a family liaison officer, has now got a makeshift cage and it has joined their family of pets - which include three cats, a dog and a guinea pig.
The couple had their hearts set on naming it Garbage as a tribute to where it was found and its remarkable escape.
But since finding out the hamster is actually female, they are trying to think of a more suitable, feminine name.