Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 10:56 UK

Fire crews hunt escaped hamster

Hamster (generic)
The family were looking after the hamster for a friend

Eight firefighters have been called in to help find an escaped hamster in East Lothian.

Two crews used a chocolate-covered camera and a vacuum cleaner to try and locate missing Fudgie at six-year-old Zoe Appleby's home in Dunbar.

Fire crews spent five hours trying to recover the pet after it scuttled down a hole in the kitchen floor.

But, the hamster, who was being looked after for a friend during the holidays, is still refusing to come out.

Zoe's mother, Angela Appleby, a nursery nurse, told BBC Scotland how she had to reassure neighbours when two fire engines from Dunbar and Newcraighall pulled up outside their house on Monday afternoon.

My manager's fiance is in the fire brigade and the conversation snowballed into the fire brigade coming round to the house
Angela Appleby

In the search for Fudgie, firefighters took the family cooker and gas pipes to pieces.

They also dropped a mini-camera coated with chocolate underneath the floorboards.

They then hoped to suck out the furry rodent using a vacuum cleaner with a sock over the nozzle.

Mrs Appleby said: "We came down for breakfast and discovered Fudgie had opened the top lid of her cage and she had made her way into the kitchen and we reckon she has gone through the smallest of holes in the kickboards where the units are.

"I had been on a week's holiday and had gone back to work, my manager's fiance is in the fire brigade and the conversation snowballed into the fire brigade coming round to the house.

"There was eight firemen and also a special care unit so they had a camera to locate where Fudgie was."

Failed attempt

Despite their efforts, they failed to recover Fudgie and called in the Scottish SPCA.

Mrs Appleby added: "Zoe has been really keen on having a pet but it hasn't put her off, we would just do it a bit differently and we just hope Fudgie comes out."

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said: "The call related to a hamster that was trapped behind a wall.

"They got a Fibroscope camera and put that down under the floorboards to see if they could find it.

"In the end we left it in the hands of the SSPCA."

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