St Columb family devastated after tortoises vanish from garden
A ST COLUMB family say they are devastated after two of their pet tortoises vanished from the back garden.
Jenny Applewhite, 33, said she believed their beloved Horsfield's tortoises, Rosie, 20, and son Ollie, 15, had been stolen.
The mother of three said her children – and Rosie's mate Victor, who has been left behind – are all heartbroken following the disappearance, and appealed for the pair to be returned.
"The children were just so attached to them," she said. "Rosie's so lovely; she'd come up to you for a stroke. Ollie would shoot here, there and everywhere.
"Vic's looking around for Rosie. He keeps marching up and down the garden.
"It's all my five-year-old and three-year-old have ever known. They're so confused. We want them back."
On September 20 Rosie and Ollie were left to roam free in the garden while the family went out, but when they returned the pair were gone.
Jenny, a childminder, said: "Somebody just came in and took them.
"We thought maybe they were hiding or maybe they'd dug down into the ground. Normally we can see where they've dug down.
"They wander around the garden, as they have a little house out there. There's nowhere they can get out.
"A lot of people don't know how to look after tortoises properly. Even if someone could just drop them back in our garden we would be happy, just so long as they're safe."
John Hayward, who runs the National Theft Register of stolen animals, said it dealt with a number of tortoise thefts each year, especially during the summer when animals were outside in their owners' gardens.
"Tortoises need the warmth and the sunlight for their wellbeing and metabolism but unfortunately it's in their gardens that they're able to be stolen," he said.
"Many tortoises are quite valuable, depending on their species, but it's not the financial value that concerns us; it's the welfare of these animals. Whoever's taken them wouldn't know of their special feeding and dietary requirements."
A reward has been offered for Rosie and Ollie's safe return. Anyone with any information is asked to call Mr Hayward on 07802 404929.