Tortoise loses mate Pepper after Southwick nature centre targeted by callous thieves (From This Is Wiltshire)
Tortoise loses mate Pepper after Southwick nature centre targeted by callous thieves
12:00pm Sunday 22nd September 2013 in Latest News
Wildlife charity workers are in shock after thieves broke into their Southwick base and stole a tortoise.
Four-year-old Pepper was taken from a workshop at Hope Nature Centre, Frome Road, with £1,500 worth of tools, including a lawn mower and strimmer.
Pepper sleeps in the building overnight with fellow four-year-old tortoise Salt and a 73-year-old tortoise, called Freda.
Salt and Pepper have been with the charity, which provides work for young people with learning difficulties, for about a year and its chairman, Tom James, said everyone at Hope Nature Centre was devastated that Pepper had gone missing.
Mr James, a former Trow-bridge mayor, said: “Nicking a tortoise is a very odd thing to do. The youngsters who visit us love the tortoises and for them to know that one is missing is very upsetting.
“This is such a sad state of affairs and I would beg anyone with information to come forward.”
Trustees of the charity, which has ponies, rabbits, goats, donkeys and other animals, held a meeting on Wednesday last week, that finished at 9pm.
The damaged workshop and thefts were discovered the following morning.
Wiltshire Police believe that the perpetrators used bolt cutters to get through the perimeter fence at the 15-acre animal park.
Mr James estimated that Pepper could be sold for about £100.
PC Jamie Darvill, based at Trowbridge Police Station, has appealed for anyone offered a chance to buy a tortoise to contact thepolice.
PC Darvill said: “We are doing everything we can and we’d appeal for the public’s help in getting the tortoise back to its home.”
Anyone with information can call Wiltshire Police on the non-emergency 101 hotline number.
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