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Police hunt for Turbo, the missing tortoise

PUBLISHED: 09:38 23 January 2009 | UPDATED: 09:22 13 July 2010

Turbo the tortoise who has been stolen from her Sheringham home. Photo: submitted

Turbo the tortoise who has been stolen from her Sheringham home. Photo: submitted

Police are on the hunt for a thief who snatched Turbo the tortoise from her garden home on Saturday night.

The thief will probably try to sell the tortoise on, as she may be worth more than £1,000.

Police are on the hunt for a thief who snatched Turbo the tortoise from her garden home on Saturday night.

The thief will probably try to sell the tortoise on, as she may be worth more than £1,000.

Beryl Potter, Turbo's owner, said: “She was very much a part of the family in her own way. She would come when you called her.

“I've had her for 30 years. One of my sons gave her to me when we were living in London, and she's been with us ever since.

“I don't know how old she was when we got her, but she was just a little thing. Now she's really big - at least the size of a dinner plate, if not bigger.

“We just hope we get her back.”

Turbo - named for her unexpectedly speedy turns around the garden - was taken from her hutch in the back garden of the Potters' bungalow on Rushmer Way, Sheringham, between 11pm on Saturday night and 7am on Sunday morning.

The police are urging anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area during this time to come forward.

The hutch was covered with a tarpaulin to protect Turbo, who is hibernating for the winter, and Mrs Potter leaned a chair against the cage on Saturday evening to prevent the covering blowing off in the wind.

But when she got up in the morning the tarpaulin had been moved and the hutch was empty.

She said: “We looked all over the garden and she's definitely not there. She hasn't buried herself - there are no claw marks or new holes.

“She wouldn't have moved much anyway, not in the wind and with it being so cold.”

Turbo had been living in her hutch for 11 years since the Potters moved to Sheringham.

Mrs Potter suspects the thief may have been someone who already knew where the tortoise was and how to get to her, as they seemed to have come into the garden through the gate rather than scaling the fence.

Most tortoises hibernate for 12 weeks to six months, depending on the species. They fast for three weeks, digesting the last of their food, and then begin to fall asleep to conserve energy during the winter.

Tortoises are protected by law and most species cannot be imported or sold within the EU without special documentation. It is illegal to sell tortoises that are captured in the wild.

Although they used to be common as pets, prices have increased since the EU controls were brought in, making them much rarer and more expensive, and one-year-olds generally fetch around £100.

Anyone with information should contact police on 0845 456 4567.


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