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Tortoise taken by bin men found after thermal camera search

Sarah Joiner with Zuma Image copyright Westminster Council
Image caption Sarah Joiner has owned Zuma for 40 years

A tortoise who crawled into a bin has been reunited with his owner after refuse workers spent hours searching through bags of rubbish using a thermal imaging camera.

Staff trawled through 1,000 rubbish bags looking for the 90-year-old pet after using the bin lorry's GPS to track him to the waste facility.

Zuma is now recuperating at home with owner Sarah Joiner in central London.

She praised the "amazing teamwork" that brought Zuma back home.

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Image copyright Westminster Council
Image caption Staff tracked the tortoise using GPS to a waste treatment centre then used thermal imaging to find him
Image copyright Westminster Council
Image caption Zuma is a 90-year-old male spurred tortoise from the Mediterranean

Ms Joiner, a life-long Westminster resident and The MS Trust volunteer, said: "Thank you is never going to be enough. There was no nonsense about it, just enormous good will in finding him."

The 56-year-old, who has Multiple Sclerosis, has owned Zuma - short for Montezuma - for 40 years.

The male spurred tortoise, originally from the Mediterranean, is now recovering from his bumps and bruises at home.

Lynn Davis from Veolia, the company that operates the waste treatment facility where Zuma was found, said: "I'm delighted that we were able to find Zuma and return him to Mrs Joiner unharmed, he really has survived against the odds.

"This was certainly a different way to spend a Friday afternoon and I'm just relieved we were successful."

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