Hopes fade for stolen blind hedgehog Stephen's return

Stephen the hedgehog Image copyright Frank Tett
Image caption Stephen the hedgehog was left blind after being sprayed with chemicals

A couple whose much-loved blind hedgehog was stolen in a vehicle theft said it would be "a miracle" if the animal turned up alive.

The hedgehog, named Stephen, was inside the van when it was taken from Albion Place in Leeds on Saturday morning.

Frank Tett, who runs Andrew's Hedgehog Hospital near Scunthorpe, said: "We're absolutely devastated here.

"He'll probably last four or five days without food or water. After that he'll just die."

West Yorkshire Police said it was investigating the theft.

Mr Tett, 80, and his wife Veronica, from Appleby, have been caring for the animal since June when he was brought to them after being sprayed with chemicals.

He said Stephen was in a light grey-coloured cat carrier, that was inside the van at the time of the theft at about 08:15 BST.

The couple appealed for motorists to be vigilant as they think the carry box might have been thrown out of the vehicle and on to the roadside.

Image copyright Frank Tett
Image caption The charity is named after another blind hedgehog the couple once looked after

However, they are "not very hopeful he will turn up".

"The material things you can replace, but you can't replace a hedgehog," said Mr Tett.

"It'll be a miracle if he turns up.

"We'll travel to the ends of the earth to pick him up."

Mr Tett said he parked his white Vauxhall van outside Barclays Bank and was loading stock for his market stall when it was stolen.

He said the couple had received "a lot of messages of support and concern" from the public and thanked them "for their good wishes".

Mr and Mrs Tett hand-rear and care for hundreds of hedgehogs at their home in North Lincolnshire.

Image copyright Frank Tett
Image caption The couple have turned their home into a hedgehog hospital

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