AN extrovert squirrel just could not resist joining in the celebrations after a girls' football team was crowned national champions.

As Durham Johnston School's under-12 five-a-side players were getting ready to pose for photographs with the English Schools Five-a-Side Championships trophy, the young grey squirrel scurried from a tree.

It ran up one of the girl's legs and was put back in the tree. However, it was not to be deterred and ran up another girl's leg and was eventually placed in the trophy by team captain Coral Colledge.

Northern Echo photographer Brian Clough said: "I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a squirrel so tame. It was remarkable.

"There was pandemonium for a few seconds when it first jumped on one of the girls, until they realised it was tame. I don't know whether it was because the competition was sponsored by Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut spread.''

A spokeswoman for the school said the squirrel had earlier tried to join in pupils' games during break-time at the school's Whinney Hill site in Durham City, which is surrounded by trees.

The team became the first North-East side to win the competition, in Derby.

The girls, Kimberley Tait, Samantha Hurton, Alice Allen, Katy Johnson, Charlotte Bell, Autumn Colledge and Coral Colledge, won trophies and sports shop vouchers.