A bat shocked the salespeople of a County Durham showroom when it was discovered in the boot of a car, after a 500-mile cross-channel journey from France.

The employees of a showroom in Hartlepool, County Durham, found the 10cm unexpected visitor in the back of a red Vauxhall Grandland X last week.

Though initially startled, the staff managed to safely contain the bat in a cardboard box before calling the RSPCA for help.

In a twist of fate, Shane Lynn – the RSPCA animal collection officer sent to rescue the bat – is a former employee of the showroom and was delighted to return to his old workplace for the sweet recovery mission.

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He said: ‘I had to Marvel at it when I got the call! The little pipistrelle bat seems to be a real Joker and has travelled at least 800km (500 miles) from his home in the boot.

‘The cheeky critter was clearly Robin’ a lift – although I don’t know if he planned to end up in the north-east of England!

‘The bat – around 10cm big – was found when the car arrived at the showroom and staff had quite the fright! Luckily, despite his adventure, he didn’t seem to be too worse for wear.’

Upon discovery, the bat seemed to be lethargic, so was taken to a local vet for a check-up while the recovery was reported to the Bat Conservation Trust.

Shane added: ‘When you work with animals you never quite know what will happen next – and we do get some batty calls to help animals in strange situations, like this little cross-channel furry!

‘But it’s always really rewarding when we can help an animal in need and ensure they’re safe and well.’

Unless the bat finds itself in another car on an international journey, he’ll now need to find a home for himself in the UK, as they plan on releasing him into the wild soon.

The rescue officer said: ‘This little one is now with a bat carer and will be released back into the wild once he’s strong and healthy enough. Pipistrelle bats are common in the UK so we can release him here and he should join a local colony and do well.’

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