IT was a picture-perfect moment which captured the nation's hearts - so staff at Secret World Animal Rescue Centre were shocked when photos of an adorable dormouse sparked a police investigation.

The Weekly News and other media organisations were invited to take pictures of the cute critter, which was being cared for by staff at the East Hunstpill centre after being brought in by a dog walker.

One snap of the dormouse even bought a chorus of aahs from Jonathan Ross' audience on his BBC One chat show.

But the story took a bizarre turn when concerned animal activists raised fears - which proved unfounded - that the dormouse had been woken from his hibernation for the photos.

Jamie Baker, a fundraiser at Secret World, told the Weekly News: “We had a handful of complaints from the general public and then we had the police turn up on our doorstep.

“We told them that the dormouse had never been woken up.

“They were very good about it, but said they had to follow up the complaint.

“It must have wasted about eight hours of police time altogether.”

Jamie added: “We rescue dormice and work with experts to care for them.

“I think people meant well but they should have rung up and got the whole story first instead of getting in touch with the police.”

A police spokesman told the Weekly News that one complaint was made over the dormouse and an officer was sent out to investigate.

However he added that no offence was committed.