Kent

Pet shop owner rescues tortoise from M26 motorway in Kent

A pet shop owner has rescued a tortoise from the carriageway of a Kent motorway.

Barry Ash from Egerton was driving along the M26 when he saw the animal on the white line between the hard shoulder and the first lane.

He said he did a double take while driving along the empty motorway when he spotted the 11in (28cm) tortoise.

"I just put my brakes on, quickly into the hard shoulder and ran back to check him," Mr Ash said.

The road was empty at the time Mr Ash stopped, although he had to alert an approaching car as he picked up the tortoise from the edge of the first lane.

Defra certificate

Mr Ash is looking after the tortoise until his owner can be traced.

"He's doing well, and my daughter has named him M26," he said.

Mr Ash, who sells tortoises from his pet shop, said the reptiles were good at escaping and would find any gap in a fence.

"All tortoises need to have a Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) certificate and he obviously doesn't have one so we can't sell him.

"He will more than likely go to a tortoise rescue centre," he said.

The Highway code advises people not to remove "obstructions" from the motorway and instead to call police or Highways Agency from the next emergency telephone.

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