A 90-YEAR-OLD pet tortoise has been reunited with a delighted family more than a week after his disappearance.
However, Timmy's owner, Joyce Bond, is unhappy at police who failed to tell her that the tortoise had been found safe and well seven days before she was notified.
The grandmother says she was frantic with worry after Timmy went missing from his home in Wistaston, believing he would not survive a night in the cold because of an injury picked up during the Second World War.
But the 60-year-old was astonished when she received a phone call from police a week later saying Timmy was safe and well.
Mrs Bond said: 'He was found a day after he went missing a quarter-of-a-mile away.
'The police knew he was safe, but didn't let me know for seven days. We have been frantic with worry when he was safe and well the whole time.'
Mrs Bond claims that, despite numerous phone calls from herself, and a woman who found Timmy, staff at Cheshire Constabulary's new multi-million-pound control centre in Winsford failed to pass the messages on to the Crewe division.
She said: 'I thought he had starved to death from the hunger and cold, when all along he was safe and well.'
The family first got Timmy more than 60 years ago when he was found badly injured and wandering the streets. He was nursed back to health and has been with generations of the Bond family ever since.
Mrs Bond, who is 30 years his junior, inherited Timmy from her aunt.
She said: 'Timmy is very distinctive because his back legs are all nobbly from the injury he had when we found him. I am amazed he got as far as he did. We have no idea how he got out in the first place.'
Daughter Rachel Davies added: 'At one point we thought we were going to lose our other tortoise, Tina, who refused to eat until he was found. Fortunately, they are both safe.'
A Cheshire Constabulary spokesman said: 'We receive more than 300 calls every quarter of an hour, so it is difficult to say what happened here.
'We do have to prioritise calls, which also makes it difficult to say how long it would have taken the call to filter through.'