A MOTORIST was flabbergasted when mechanics handed him a kilo bag of nuts they extracted from the airducts of his car.

James Cresswell, of Whitefield Close, St Paul's Cray, thinks the nuts were hidden inside the airducts at the back of the engine by squirrels.

The 73-year-old retired electrical engineer believes the nuts came from a hanging net in his garden which he leaves to feed the birds.

The mystery he says is the car is parked in his garage over night and he rarely sees a squirrel in his garden.

The father-of-three said: "If I have seen one squirrel near my house in the last three months that is all.

"I feed the birds in hanging nets but I can't ever remember seeing a squirrel taking the nuts.

"My car is in the garage over night.

The garage said they had never seen anything like it before."

Mr Cresswell had taken his two year old Renault Modus for a service at Whitehouse Renault in Crofton Road Orpington when the nuts were found.

Service desk receptionist Andy Alexander, 27, said: " I have never seen that quantity of nuts before - the air box was completely full.

"It is not uncommon for animals to hide themselves inside engine bays because it is warm and dry.

"I have seen mice eating through wiring and you get the occasional one or two nuts that may have got in the air filter but not a two pound bag of nuts.

"There were teeth marks in the air filter so they obviously weren't satisfied with the nuts and took a bite out of that.

"They must have been getting in the air ducts at the back of the engine and leaving their deposits.

"The car couldn't have been doing a good job of conducting air."

Mr Cresswell who recently drove all the way to Berwick upon Tweed in his car said: "I never had any trouble with the car and never suspected anything.

He added: "I am going to put the nuts back in my bird feeder.

"I will have to check for holes in my garage - unless they get in through the roof.

"I will shoot them if I see them."