A tiny finch became trapped inside a Next store for two days – after setting up home in a fake Christmas tree.
The little bird got in a flap after flying through an open window of the Eldon Square, Newcastle shop.
Staff and customers were stunned when they spotted it perched on top of a Christmas tree in the festive display last Sunday.
Despite attempts to catch it, the bird evaded capture for two days while it flew between the glass frontage and internal wall of the three-storey building.
RSPCA inspectors Rachael Hurst and Lucy Green finally used rescue poles to get hold of the finch before releasing it into the wild on Tuesday.
Rachael said: “She just couldn’t fly back out and was flitting around the displays over three floors.
“No doubt the bright decorations in the Christmas displays attracted her and at one stage she’d landed on top of a tree and seemed very happy to stay there too.
“I didn’t stand a chance of getting the bird on my own and the store staff had had no success either.
“She was too high up and even our reach and rescue poles couldn’t reach her properly.”
Rachael said the shop team was determined to catch her and eventually managed to move her along with the poles after she had flown in from her perch.
“Finally we caught her behind some men’s coats on the top floor, but we had to move pretty swiftly,” she said.
“Fortunately, she was unharmed, so we took her straight outside and released her near an area where there were a couple of trees.
“This rescue highlights why we are running our Winter campaign, which aims to raise funds so we can continue nice wildlife rescues like this but also to help the increasing number of abandoned and neglected pets.”
Rachael said many of these pets were victims of the cost of living crisis.