A SQUIRREL trashed a magistrate's living room, causing thousands of pounds-worth of damage, after it fell down her chimney.
Margaret Bousfield, 64, said that, in its efforts to escape, the squirrel ransacked the room by clawing the curtains, soiling the carpets and ruining a sofa.
After tumbling through the fireplace, it triggered the burglar alarm, leaving her fearing she was being robbed.
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But, on coming down the stairs, she discovered the squirrel causing what would end up being £7,000-worth of damage.
After a neighbour came in to help, a window was opened and the squirrel made its escape.
She said: "The disruption was unbelievable. My first thought was Ill just clean this up. I didn't realise how long the damage would take to sort.
"The squirrel was going wild but (the neighbour) managed to open a window and it was covered in dirt and it shot from the house like a bullet."
The mother-of-two, who lives in Hartlepool and works as a magistrate, said the smell in the room was a mix of soot and squirrel urine.
She said she has now refurbished the room and the costs were covered by her insurance.