Manchester

Alligator stolen in Stockport pet shop burglary

A 5ft-long (1.5m) alligator has been stolen from a pet shop in Greater Manchester.

The cuvier's dwarf caiman was stolen along with snakes and lizards from Stockport Pet Warehouse, in Hallam Street, Heaviley, on Monday night.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said nothing else had been stolen in the raid.

Shop worker Paul Williamson said the caiman was "aggressive".

A 7ft (2.1m) yellow anaconda, carpet pythons, several smaller snakes and two tortoises were taken along with the caiman, but Mr Williamson said these were relatively harmless.

'Very powerful'

"They would bite you and hurt you, but they wouldn't do any real harm," he said.

However, he said the caiman, which was not for sale, was different and that he had never been in the tank with it.

"I've been here for four years and I've never picked it up, because it is aggressive," he said.

"I wouldn't want to physically go in there and pull it out - they're not the biggest animal in the world, but they can do a lot of damage.

"They're very powerful, very strong and they've obviously got huge teeth, so if they bite, the next place for you go to is hospital."

He said he was concerned about the welfare of the reptiles as, although they could go without food for several weeks, they "need heat".

"Because it is winter, they will need special heating requirements," he said.

Det Sgt David Jordan said that anyone coming across the animals "should take care and inform the authorities immediately".

"We are appealing to anyone with information, and indeed to anyone who may know who is behind this very tenacious burglary," he said.

"The offenders must have used implements to force their way in and the animals themselves have a very high monetary value."

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