Wigan family reunited with beloved pet tortoise seven months after she went missing
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Mary the tortoise escaped from her home in August, much to the dismay of nine-year-old owner Harvey Dean-Evans.
Harvey, along with parents Jodie and Ryan, searched frantically for the beloved pet, but gave up hope of finding her.
But Ben Baxendale, a grounds maintenance operative for Electricity North West, found Mary while clearing litter at an electricity substation in Norley last week.
He said: “At first, I thought it was some sort of toy on the floor, then I saw the tortoise move and retract its head into its shell.
“It was certainly a strange one and something I’ve never dealt with before. I put the tortoise in a bucket and thought I’d knock on a few doors, but knew if it wasn’t anybody’s we’d have to find it a home for the weekend.
“We always make it clear that no-one should ever enter our substations – they have ‘danger of death’ signs on for a reason – but this is the first time I’ve seen a trespassing tortoise!”
Ben knocked on doors and the first person he spoke to was Harvey’s grandmother, who instantly identified Mary.
Jodie, who also has pet turtles and terrapins, said: “It’s fair to say nobody in the family thought we’d ever see Mary again, given the weather and the time missing, we just thought there’s no chance.
“Mary is used to being outside. During the summer, we regularly let her out in a small pen and she’s quite well-known on the estate.
“But that evening in August, she somehow got out of the garden and despite searching all over, there were just no signs of her and we thought she’d been taken.”
Harvey was delighted to be reunited with his pet.
Jodie said: “There was all sorts of emotions when we saw Mary, it was such a heart-warming moment to see the smile on Harvey’s face.
“He’s really into his animals and loves everything about nature. He was devastated when Mary had gone missing but seeing his reaction when she was found made a few of us cry.
“I honestly can’t thank Ben and Electricity North West enough, they really did make Harvey’s day.”