A CAR enthusiast was shocked to find a family of field mice had set up home in his treasured classic motor.

Nigel Pepper, from Fleetwood Avenue, Holland-on-Sea, has been keeping his 1979 Pontiac Trans Am in a barn in the Great Bromley area while carrying out restoration work.

Having halted works over the colder months, Nigel returned to his vehicle to discover the rodents had invaded his pride and joy.

The photographer and computer repairs technician said: “I have owned a custom car for a long time and have been doing restoration works, but hadn’t been down there for a few months.

“I returned to do some work to the outside of the car but then I discovered that I’d had some visitors.

“As soon as I opened the car, I saw it – signs of animal activity.

“Clearly the mice thought they’d found a wonderful hidey-hole.

“They’d brought in more than 150 acorns and had chewed up foam from the seats.

“There were bits of rags that they had brought in – it was astounding how industrious they had been.

“I’m lucky in a way as the interior has not been restored yet, so it still had its old carpets.

“Where they had brought in so many acorns, they haven’t chewed the wiring and haven’t damaged the upholstery.”

Nigel said the rodents have now been removed from the motor, similar to the one made famous in the 1970s Burt Reynolds’ movie Smokey and the Bandit.

“They’ve now been evicted,” added Nigel.

“They were caught in a humane trap and released a couple of miles away in a hedgerow. Unless they’ve got a map and a compass, I don’t think they’ll be back.”

Nigel had bought the motor in the 1980s and has been carrying out extensive restorations.

He has now warned others to take care of classic cars that are kept in storage.