An 11-year-old tortoise was returned to his owners safe and sound this week after being abducted in a home burglary in Luton. Toby, the slow-moving victim of the tortoise-napping incident, was reunited with his family after a social media campaign ensured his safety.
While the pet is back among his loving owners, the thieving culprits remain at large and the rest of their swag bag – said to contain jewellery, laptops and iPads, among other items – has not been recovered. As such, police are appealing for any information in tracking the heartless hoodlums down.
Sold for £20
The break-in took place on Harcourt Street in Luton, Bedfordshire last Sunday, between 4pm in the afternoon and 9.30am the following morning. Mr Berry, the owner of the house and of the tortoise in question, was away from the premises for a prolonged period and in his absence, one or more housebreakers took full advantage.
The culprits broke into the property and made off with a number of valuables thought to total thousands of pounds’ worth in cash, as well as pilfering the poor reptile. Toby was placed in a cardboard box and taken down to the local pub, where he was sold to a couple of punters for a mere £20.
In their defence, the pair who purchased Toby appear to have been acting in his best interests. Fearing for the tortoise’s welfare, they coughed up the dough and promptly took him to the local vet to get him checked out.
While at the vets, the anonymous duo met Ginny, a dog owner and animal lover who offered to take Toby off their hands and give him a good home. Unaware of the illicit nature of Toby’s appearance, Ginny took him home and only discovered his identity when a friend told her about the social media campaign devoted to reuniting him with his distraught owner.
Ginny immediately looked into the campaign herself and was delighted to see that the missing tortoise was indeed Toby. She got in touch with local bobby PC Steven Ryan, who took Mr Berry round to Ginny’s abode and made the reunion official.
“A big thank you to Ginny, Bedfordshire Police and PC Ryan, the two men who took him to the vets, and all of the members of the public who offered support on Facebook,” gushed Mr Berry, who was ecstatic at being united with his AWOL pet.
“Committed to fully investigating this heartless burglary”
PC Ryan took the opportunity to drop a delightful pun, as well as appealing to anyone with information to come forward and help nail the scoundrels behind Toby’s abduction.
“We’re thrilled that Toby has been reunited with his family after what must have been a real ordeal for him – we’re pleased to report that he’s now coming back out of his shell!
“That said, those responsible for the break-in remain outstanding and we’re committed to fully investigating this heartless burglary, to prevent further offending and distress to others. We’re keen to trace the two Good Samaritans who took Toby to the vets, as they may be able help with further information about the person who sold him. Additionally we’d urge anyone with information about the incident to come forward.”
Protect your property – and your pets
As this burglary clearly demonstrates, it’s not just your material possessions that are under threat when an intruder takes it upon themselves to steal from your home; beloved pets can be at risk, as well. Make sure you don’t fall prey to the same skulduggery as Mr Berry – especially since happy endings such as his are sadly all too rare.
At Blackburn Alarms, we have a whole host of intruder alerts, CCTV cameras and access control systems to increase safety and give you peace of mind. To find out more about how we can help secure your home or workplace, get in touch with us today.