A COVENTRY pensioner, 82, has issued a desperate appeal to find her pet tortoise of 68 years after it was snatched from her front garden.
Allesley Park resident Yvonne Machin says she was horrified to see a schoolboy take her ‘sole companion’ and beloved tortoise Tommy on Tuesday (May 7).
The incident has been reported to the police and the Allesley Park community has stepped up efforts to help Ms Machin locate the missing reptile.
Ms Machin lives in Pyt Park just off Pangfield Park and has offered a reward of £100 for Tommy’s safe return.
She said: “I’ve had her since I was 14. She’s moved and travelled with my family and grown up with my children.
“I haven’t told them because they would be more upset than I am. She was a great pet, it’s very sad.
“I was sat in my dining room which looks out on to my front garden.
“The schoolchildren started coming up and these two boys – one with a green jumper on – leaned over my fence.
“I thought they were just going to look but one of them picked the tortoise up with two hands and left.
“I couldn’t believe it. I just didn’t know what to do, because I can’t run obviously. I got out there but they had gone.
“She was one of us. She means the world to me. She was just lovely. I would go out in the garden and she would walk across if she saw me coming.
“And I would sit there and feed her her grapes.
“Poppy my little dog used to go out and watch her.
“If anyone knows anything about where she is I would be very grateful and it would make me so happy.”
A Facebook post from Allesley Park resident Pauline Venables states: “At 3.45pm two young lads leaned into the garden and took the tortoise.
“They had come from the Allesley Old Road, cut through by Victoria Court Flats and they headed off in the Pangfield Park direction.
“She (Ms Machin) is not in the best of health and is very distraught by this occurrence. The tortoise is called Tommy and she likes grapes.
“We’re hoping that there will be photos of the boys soon. Please message me if you have any information.”
Yvonne says the tortoise is light brown and is about nine inches long – a little smaller than a dinner plate.
Most tortoises can live to between 80 and 150 years – and they are the longest living animal species in the world.