A refuse worker has been called a “hero” after saving a hamster that was thrown in a bin and left to die.
The hamster was spotted by cleaner Ray Aichinson hiding in a discarded coffee cup that had fallen out of a torn bin bag.
Mr Aichinson said he was “terrified” when he first saw the animal because he thought it was a rat.
“If you don't want the hamster by all means give it away but not like that,” he said.
"The poor little thing. It's not the animal's fault. He was right at the bottom so he must have all sorts of stuff dumped on top of him.
"I've seen some absolute s*** in my time but that's got to be one of the strangest things I've come across in a bin.”
Mr Aichinson, and a passerby, managed to catch the rodent and take it to a nearby Pets At Home store, where staff were able to nurse it back to health.
Once healthy, the hamster will be put up for adoption.
Passerby Jess Young, 26, said: "[Pets At Home] said they would give him a little wash and some food and then put him up for adoption in their store.
"Thank God [Mr Aichinson] noticed. He saved the hamster's life like a hero."