Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 17:10 UK

Owner's joy over tortoise return

Joy Bloor and Zeus
Joy Bloor said she did not believe she would ever see Zeus again

A rare tortoise stolen from an animal sanctuary in Cornwall has been returned to its owner.

Zeus, a 15-year-old sulcata tortoise, was one of 32 stolen from the Tortoise Garden at Sticker nearly two weeks ago.

The 7st (44kg) tortoise was bought from a Kent pet shop by Karen Todd from Sittingbourne who paid £1,250 for him.

However, when the theft was reported in the media, Mrs Todd recognised the picture and contacted a "delighted" Joy Bloor in Cornwall.

Mrs Todd, 40, who has two other tortoises, said the shop had named him Gorgeous George and he became an instant hit with her seven-year-old daughter Charlotte.

Man arrested

Mrs Bloor said she was "overwhelmed and delighted" to have Zeus back.

"I didn't have an ounce of hope that I would see him again," she said.

Sulcata tortoises are native to Africa and have been known to live for about 160 years.

So far Zeus is the only stolen tortoise to have been been found, but Devon and Cornwall Police said their inquiries were continuing into the theft.

Some of the other tortoises that were stolen from their pens are on the most endangered species list and can only be bought or sold under licence.

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