I HAVE in my hand a small furry creature that looks harmless enough.

Yet this little bundle of yellow- coloured fluff, named Pipsqueak, has caused untold misery for scores of mums and dads, simply because they couldn’t get their hands on it.

Parents have been queuing up in all weathers outside toy stores after intelligence suggested a delivery of the Go Go Pets Hamsters was being made.

Once there, they discovered it was on a strict one hamster per parent policy, so other relatives were dragged from their beds at un-Godly hours to take up their quota.

After hearing of this fuss I instructed Ben’s dad to pop in on his way home from work to see if he could pick one up. I know better than to take Ben into Toys R Us – he’d never come out.

With the minimum amount of fuss, he managed to pick up our little Pipsqueak without any bother at all.

He did, however, make it sound as if his life was at risk as the burly security guard enforcing the one hamster rule eyeballed him as he debated whether to get the yellow one or the white one.

I decided there and then not to believe the hype.

I was aghast therefore, at news relayed by my friend – who was one of the aforementioned queuers – that on the internet these hamsters and their associated homes, cars and surf boards (I kid you not) were changing hands for upwards of £50, when you can buy them off the shelf for just under a tenner.

We are barely into December and yet the frenzy surrounding the toy has gone nuts – largely it would seem due to panicky parents themselves.

Although some parents bemoan the apparent lack of supply, I am sure others enjoy the thrill of the chase and delight in the fact they have secured the sought-after fake animal.

I am not looking forward to the day when Ben is able to pen his own Christmas wish list and begins demanding all sorts of hard to come by items.

I think I will have to prepare him for the fact that even Father Christmas has limits, namely sanity, to avoid disappointment.