Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Stolen giant tortoise comes home

Johnny the giant tortoise
Johnny the tortoise was recovered by police during a raid on a house

A giant tortoise which was taken from his purpose-built log cabin has been discovered safe and well.

Johnny, a Genota Sulcata tortoise, who weighs four-stone (25kg) and is 4ft (1.2m) long was missing for two days after being lifted from a garden.

Owner Shelley Williams, of Hengoed, Caerphilly, said she feared her pet had been stolen to order.

She has now paid out for increased security, installing a new laser light and cameras in Johnny's enclosure.

Gwent Police said Johnny was reported stolen early on Monday. A spokeswoman said: "Inquiries are continuing."

"I think, from what the police said, he was taken by opportunist thieves," said Mrs Williams.

"He was located in a garden with no heat or light so it looks like they didn't realise what they had.

"He was found by police during a raid on a house two days later.

"I am absolutely elated that he is back with us and back home happy."

Johnny has lived with Mrs Williams and her husband Mark for more than three years, after being brought from a garden centre in Gloucester.

'Local celebrity'

"I run a ferret rescue and people know I will go to any lengths to help injured or sick animals that nobody else can look after," added Mrs Williams.

"I'm lucky to have him. These tortoises live to be about 175, so we don't actually own him; I'm just a transitory thing to him.

Nine-year-old Johnny, who is worth about £4,000, is now safely back in his enclosure in Mrs Williams' garden - and back in the limelight.

"He's very friendly and he's a bit like a local celebrity," she added.

"He's very much part of the community."

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