Staff are shell-shocked over theft of �600 tortoise

IPSWICH: A desperate plea for information was today made after thieves pinched a �600 pet tortoise from an Ipswich garden centre.

Furious workers at Victoria Nurseries discovered the 15-year-old female reptile had been stolen after spotting a gaping hole in the side of her pen.

It is the second time the un-named creature has been taken from the nursery – the tortoise and its mate sparked a police hunt when they were both stolen in July 2006. On that occasion, an anonymous caller contacted the garden centre soon after and arranged their safe return.

The Mediterranean Spur-thighed tortoise was taken from the nursery in Kettlebaston Way either on Saturday or before opening time yesterday.

Wendy Matthews, a member of staff at Victoria Nurseries, looks after the tortoises. She said she hoped those involved would return the popular reptile.

“We are so attached to both of them since we have had them since they were hatched in 1995 – back then they were the size of a 50 pence piece.

“Everyone is a bit shocked and we all hope that wherever she is, she is being looked after.

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“We really hope that she is returned to us.

“We were lucky last time because they were returned to us.

“Now we can only hope that she is brought back to us again.

“The other male tortoise is sitting there waiting for her – it’s mating season so he looks a bit fed up without her.”

Anyone with information about the missing tortoise should contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

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