Police have appealed for help to reunite a Herby the tortoise with his owners after he was stolen during a burglary in Sunderland.
The pet was taken from a shed in the back garden of a house in Crosslea Avenue, off Strawberry Bank, between 3pm on Monday, August 17, and 5.30am on Tuesday.
The thief forced entry through a side gate. It is believed the offence may have taken place around midnight.
Nothing else was stolen but the animal, called Herby, has been in the family for nearly 40 years and its owners are desperate to be reunited with their pet.
Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt said: “This burglary has had a massive impact on the owner as the tortoise has been in her family for more than 35 years.
“An offender has forced entry into an outhouse and stolen the animal from the back garden of the property leaving the family completely devastated.
“We would ask neighbours and people living in the area to check their gardens to see if the tortoise has been dumped by the offender.
“Anyone with information about this theft is urged to get in touch and would also like to appeal to the thief to find it in their heart to return the animal to its owner.”
Herby’s owner said: “We are desperate to have Herby returned home to us as he has been in the family for as long as I can remember.
“All we want is for him to be returned to us safe and unharmed. This incident has left us really distressed and my mother has been particularly affected.
“I would just urge whoever stole Herby to bring him back to us. He has spent his entire life in our home and must be really frightened to be in such a strange place.”
The animal is around a foot long and weighs approximately 7kg. It has a faint white line down the middle of its shell.
Anyone with information or who may have been offered the tortoise for sale is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 298 18/08/15