A GUINEA pig called Elf, a cat with a tummy tuck, a ferret and four pigs are among scores of abandoned animals looking for new homes before Christmas - and shoppers at Stretford Mall are helping feed them in the meantime.

Staff at Co-operative Travel have launched their annual Christmas appeal for donations of pet food, toys and equipment at Stretford Mall, in aid of Animals in Distress.

Assistant manager at the Co-operative Travel branch in Stretford Mall, keen animal lover Kira Foden, started running the annual collection after she got her own pet dog called Princess from the Animals in Distress charity.

As well as Elf the guinea pig and his hutch mate Wriggles, the charity based in Irlam is currently sheltering more than 100 potential pets including 56 cats, 30 horses, 20 budgies, 14 rabbits, five dogs, four pigs, two donkeys, and a ferret.

Animals in Distress is also appealing for the public’s help to rehome as many of their animals as possible before Christmas.

Assistant manager Kira Foden, a keen animal lover who has her own pet dog called Princess, said: “This is the sixth year we’ve done the collection and it always goes really well."

Kira, who has been at Stretford Mall for eight years, said: “We’ve all animal lovers in store, we’ve all got pets ourselves so we like being able to help out. We can’t thank our customers enough for their continued support and generosity.”

The final batch of goodies will be collected up for the charity on December 14 so shoppers are urged to get their donations in to the Co-op Travel store at Stretford Mall before that date.