BASINGSTOKE AA man Andy Smith is used to cracking tough nuts, but he was baffled by a car on a farm near Micheldever.

The unfortunate owner called out the AA after being unable to start the car that was parked near an oak tree.

It was only after a full inspection that patrolman Andy discovered a squirrel had been storing up his winter acorns in the air intake and pipe.

Mr Smith said: “The member said their car had no power, so they assumed it was a problem with the turbo. However, when I looked over the car there was no obvious fault. I tried all the usual things but was left puzzled when nothing worked.”

Not prepared to admit defeat, Andy continued to investigate and spotted an air pipe collapsing while the engine was revved.

Realising it must be blocked, he took the air intake off and soon realised the cause of the problem.

He said: “The pipe and air box were literally rammed with acorns – they just poured out. The air intake is about the width of a drinks can, so the squirrel obviously thought it made the perfect secret stash.”

Andy used a handheld vacuum cleaner to clear out the acorns and soon the car was running again.

Before leaving he briefed the member on how to check for any future squirrel sabotage, and added: “It’s certainly one of the nuttiest breakdowns I’ve ever been out to – we couldn’t stop laughing. But I just hope the wee thing has plenty of other stashes buried away for the winter.”

The car’s owner declined to comment.