Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry tortoise Tommy returned after theft

Yvonne Machin with Tommy Image copyright Pauline Venables
Image caption Yvonne Machin said she was grateful for people's kindness

A woman left distraught over the disappearance of her pet tortoise of 68 years says it has been safely returned.

Yvonne Machin, 82, was horrified on Tuesday when she saw two boys lean over her garden fence in Coventry and take Tommy who is "part of the family".

The police were informed and the community spread news of the search on social media and offered rewards.

Ms Machin said she was "over the moon" Tommy was back and thanked everyone who had helped.

Tommy had been put in a neighbouring garden and was found on Friday evening.

Ms Machin had seen the boys from her window in Allesley Park and believed they were just looking at the tortoise, but she said "one went up the road with it."

"I was just so shocked and I knew I wouldn't be able to run after them," she said.

Image copyright Yvonne Machin
Image caption Yvonne Machin's daughter (pictured) has known Tommy all her life

The female tortoise has been her pet since she was 14 and has been cared for by her children and grandchildren.

'She's precious'

"It's the world to me. It's like losing one of my children, " she said.

"People would think I was crazy just over a tortoise.

"I'm happy because she's just precious. I would never have got over it if I had never found her.

"I'm very grateful for everybody's kindness and thoughts and for them understanding that she meant such a lot to me."

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Pauline Venables, who edits the local newsletter Allesley Park Focus, said residents had offered to check bins and gardens in the search.

"It really hit a lot of people. It's great to get a happy ending. It's magical," she said.

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