Shell-shocked Wigan boy reunited with missing tortoise

2 months ago 15

Harvey with Ben BaxendaleImage source, Electricity North Wes

Image caption,

"Lettuce" be thankful - Tortoise owner Harvey is reunited with missing Mary thanks to a discovery by power company worker Ben Baxendale

A pet tortoise has stuck its neck out by making an unexpected return seven months after going missing, leaving its owner shell-shocked.

Despite a lack of speed, Mary escaped from her home in Wigan in August, much to the dismay of owner Harvey, nine.

But the wandering reptile was discovered last week, seemingly having had a "power nap" at a nearby electricity substation.

Harvey's mother Jodie said: "He was devastated when Mary [went] missing.

"But seeing his reaction when she was found made a few of us cry."

She said the family's hopes of finding Mary had been dashed after a cold winter.

"We just thought 'there's no chance'," Jodie explained.

All had been well up to August, and Mary was used to being outside. "During the summer, we regularly let her out in a small pen and she's quite well known on the estate," said Jodie.

"But that evening in August, she somehow got out of the garden and despite searching all over, there were just no signs of her and we thought she'd been taken."

There was then an unexpected development.

Ben Baxendale, a grounds maintenance operative for power network Electricity North West, found the pet while clearing litter from a substation supplying the local area of Norley.

Image source, Electricity North West

Image caption,

Mary was discovered on the grounds of a substation

"At first, I thought it was some sort of toy on the floor," Mr Baxendale said.

"Then I saw the tortoise move and retract its head into its shell.

"We always make it clear that no-one should ever enter our substations - they have 'danger of death' signs on for a reason - but this is the first time I've seen a trespassing tortoise."

With properties just metres away from the substation, Mr Baxendale started to knock doors.

The first person to whom he spoke turned out to be Harvey's grandmother who instantly identified the tortoise as missing Mary.

Jodie said: "There was all sorts of emotions when we saw Mary - it was such a heart-warming moment to see the smile on Harvey's face."

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