Updated: A MAN has been arrested after a hamster was fried to death following a row between flatmates.

Police found the dead pet – belonging to the flatmate of the arrested man – lying in a frying pan in the kitchen of one of the apartments at Pope’s Head Court, in Peter Lane, off Market Street, York.

National animal welfare charity Blue Cross described the incident as “horrific and tragic”.

Police sources told The Press that officers were called to the block of flats last Saturday following reports of a drunken disturbance and arrested a 20-year-old student for being drunk and disorderly.

They conducted a spot-check around the flat and made the grim discovery.

They then arrested the 20-year-old man on further suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. The Press understands police believe the creature was alive before it was placed in the frying pan.

After questioning the man, officers learned that the hamster had belonged to his male flatmate, a foreign student who is studying in the city. The owner of the pet is said to have been distraught when he found out what had happened.

Police said the hamster was now in a deep freezer in the evidence room at the Fulford Road police station as investigations continued into the incident. The RSPCA said it could not comment on an ongoing case but it would also looking into the investigation.

Denise Young, the Blue Cross regional manager for the north, said: “This is an horrific and tragic incident for both the poor hamster and the owner concerned. At the Blue Cross, we sadly see animals who have been terribly neglected or deliberately mistreated, in desperate need of our care and loving new homes.

“We hope that this case is taken as seriously as it deserves to be by the relevant authorities.”

A police spokesman said: “A 20-year-old man was arrested at an address on Pope’s Head Court, Peter Lane, York, on Saturday, February 4, on suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. He has been released on bail while police and RSPCA inquiries continue.”

The man will answer bail on March 6.