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Missing Hayrack Farm tortoises mystery has happy ending

Pukka and Pumpkin's 'great escape' was courtesy of two young cousins and their deep pockets

Farm supervisor Shelley Deegan with one of the formerly AWOL tortoises

The mystery of two tiny tortoises who went walkabout from a petting zoo in Thornton-le-Moors has been solved.

Staff at Hayrack Church Farm were heartbroken when they realised Pukka and Pumpkin had vanished from their vivarium inside the Reptile Room on the afternoon of January 27.

But the popular pair had been spirited away on a junk food-fuelled adventure, courtesy of two youngsters and their deep pockets.

Farm supervisor Shelley Deegan, who issued a heartfelt appeal for their safe return, suspected that somebody had scooped them up and made off with them – which is exactly what had transpired.

Staff at Hayrack Church Farm put out this appeal to locate Pukka and Pumpkin

Shelley explained that a very apologetic gentleman returned one of the tortoises last week, revealing that his daughter and her cousin had pocketed one each during a visit.

While the cousin returned to London with one, he discovered the other some days later inside a box furnished with a scrap of carpet, one Jaffa Cake, one Cheestring and a juice cap filled with water which his little girl had hidden under her bed.

“He was very sorry,” Shelley said.

“She must have only been young.

“We are absolutely made up that we have got them back.

“Because they are so cute, they’re really popular with visitors.”

The man is making arrangements for the other tortoise to be transported home from London and the Hayrack Church Farm team is looking forward to being reunited with him.

The vivariums have now been fitted with locks.

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