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22 January 2019, 18:11 | Updated: 22 January 2019, 18:15
The RSPCA received a tip off after the pet's owner was sent to prison.
Armed police in Derby helped to rescue a "hungry" gerbil after its owner went to prison, leaving it trapped and starving at home.
Officers from the local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) received a tip-off from the RSPCA that the imprisoned individual had refused to give access to their address and called for assistance from the constabulary's armed response unit.
The SNT said: "Our officers forced entry to the address with some help from the armed response unit and found the gerbil, who was thankfully still alive but very hungry."
The ravenous rodent was taken to a nearby vet and has been cared for by the RSPCA.
An RSPCA spokesman said: "We requested the help of Derbyshire Police following concerns for a pet inside a property which had been left unattended for some time.
"We work very closely with the emergency services and are always grateful for their assistance in helping rescue animals. We are always aware their help will be dependent on the resources available at the specific time."
Staff declined to name the animal as it still had an owner - even though he was in jail.
Derbyshire Police said the rescue had "no impact on operational policing".
They said in a statement: "Armed officers are routinely called on to provide support in gaining access to properties where there is a cause for concern.
"Had there been a need for them to be deployed elsewhere, officers would have been able to be mobilised quickly.
"In addition, on entering the property, officers found that the gas fire had been left on. This was switched off and the property able to be made safe."