These bin men saved the lives of tiny kittens after they were cruelly dumped with the rubbish.
Hamilton Murray, Clive O’Connor and Dale Evans rescued the animals whilst doing their rounds for Wakefield Council.
They heard crying and yelping coming from a wheelie bin in Hall Close, Hemsworth and discovered the pets inside.
Mr O’Connor said: “We always open the bins first to check them and this time was amazed to see the kittens.
“We asked around but no-one knew who they belonged to so we put them in a container with some bedding to keep them warm and took them back to the depot.”
Staff kept the animals warm and gave them something to drink, before phoning the RSPCA to collect them.
The organisation said all of them were saved and have since been re-homed.
Mr O’Connor said: “I’ve been doing this job for a long time and have never come across anything like this. We are all glad the kittens are safe.”
The pets belonged to animal lover Chelsea Radford and lived in a shed in her garden with their mother.
The 24-year-old was alerted to the bin men’s discovery by a neighbour, who feared the kittens were hers.
Miss Radford, who contacted The Express to warn other pet owners to be vigilant, said: “I was heartbroken. I felt absolutely sick to my stomach.
“I just cannot believe that somebody could be so cruel to do that to harmless and defenceless little animals.”
Miss Radford had tried to trace the kittens but said she feared they would not be safe if they returned. She praised the bin men for their efforts.
She said: “I can’t thank the bin men enough for this amazing act of kindness. I want to thank them for the fantastic job they have done rescuing my kittens and getting them to safety and saving each of there innocent lives.”