Happy ending as stolen tortoise set to be reunited with owner

Tilly the tortoise is set to return to her rightful home.

Tilly the tortoise is set to return to her rightful home.

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A stolen tortoise which ended up living more than 170 miles from home is set to be reunited with its true owner.

Earlier this week, we revealed how the hunt was on to find the owner of a distinctive pet tortoise believed to have been stolen in Doncaster and which has been cared for by a new owner in Norfolk.

But caring Trish Reeve has now traced the pet's rightful owner after she discovered it had been snatched and made an online plea through this website.

Trish, 51, said she bought the tortoise in Gainsborough last year after being offered it for sale by "gypsies" - but last week she says she was told the pet, which she named Tilly, had been stolen.

But after our appeal, the true owner - an anonymous woman who lives in north Linconshire got in touch - and the pet is now set to return to its rightful home.

She said: "The woman told me she had had Tilly since she was very young - the size of a 50p piece - and so it is great she can go back home again.

She added: "I felt full of guilt and just wanted to return her to its rightful owner. It is fantastic the story has a happy ending.

"I have looked after her really well but I couldn't live with myself knowing it was someone else's pet."

Mrs Reeve, who lives on the Norfolk Broads, bought the leopard tortoise, last September while visiting family in Lincolnshire.

She said: "I was approached by some gypsies in Gainsborough who said they were selling it. I paid them £250 because I thought it was a bargain for such a distinctive animal."

She has cared for Tilly at her home over the winter months, buying it heat lamps and a basket and turning the room under her stairs into a home for the animal.

She added: "I am so happy that we've managed to get her back home."