Shearer the Hedgehog rescued from goal post hole on Newcastle football pitch

Shearer was stuck so tightly it took several attempts to rescue him. Credit: RSPCA

A hedgehog is on the road to recovery after being rescued from a two-foot hole in a Newcastle football pitch.

Named Shearer by those who saved him, the spiky little guy had crawled into one of the tubes used to hold up goalposts at Scotswood Social Club - only to find himself firmly wedged in.

He was found on Tuesday 10 May by a group of youngsters playing on the field after they lifted the cap placed over the hole.

The RSPCA was called and Inspector Jacqui Miller was able to gently prise him out after several attempts with a thin rod normally used to close cat carriers.

Shearer wrapped in a towel straight after his rescue. Credit: RSPCA

"I had to improvise as I couldn’t get my fingers down with gloves as he was stuck in so tightly," she said.

"The only thing I found that I could squeeze down there was the cat carrier pole which was thin enough.

"It has a loop at its end, which went neatly underneath the hedgehog’s body, so I could gradually push him up."

But Shearer was still in trouble. Inspector Miller remembers him looking severely hydrated with sunken eyes, smelling strongly and covered in the white chalk of pitch markings.

She took him to Sunderland-based animal charity Pawz for Thought, where he was given pain relief and treated to a hearty meal of hedgehog food.

Shearer tucks into a well-deserved meal. Credit: RSPCA

It was there that staff named him Shearer, given his fondness for a goal. They plan to release him back in the area where he was found.

"Shearer was fortunate as he would have died without food and water," Inspector Miller added.

"One of the teenagers who found him tried to get him out with his bare hands, but he was getting hurt on the spikes.

"When I’ve rescued hedgehogs previously they have been stuck in places that have been easier to access.

"Fortunately, the carrier rod did the trick and when he was free he curled himself into a ball and was off to Pawz for Thought."

The RSPCA advises anyone that finds a wild animal that is trapped to not try and free it by themselves.

Wild animals can scratch, kick and bite, particularly if they are injured.

Or, as in Shearer's case, they can prove difficult to handle without protective clothing and specialist equipment.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: "You could risk hurting yourself and the animal.

"Many animals that become trapped or tangled can be more seriously hurt than you think, so it is best that they are examined properly to see if they need treatment.

"You should keep a safe distance and call the RSPCA cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999."