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Tortoise Shelley makes it across Essex Road in bid for freedom

Owner welcomes back pet discovered more than half a mile away after her five-day adventure

08 June, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Shelley is now safely home with Milly Wilson and Florence Jackson, and dogs Destiny and Charlie

A LUCKY tortoise survived a perilous five-day adventure which saw her cross a busy main road during a bid for freedom.

Pet tortoise Shelley disappeared from a garden on Saturday, leaving owner Florence Jackson, who lives in Canonbury, devastated.

The Year 4 teacher at a school in Notting Hill put up posters along Essex Road to alert neighbours about the missing pet but didn’t expect Shelley to have travelled across it.

“I often bring her into school with me so the children were devastated when they found out Shelley had gone missing,” she said. “So they helped me make posters to help find her.

“We had loads of calls all week saying: ‘We’ve found her’, but she had been mistaken for terrapins in Regent’s Canal.”

Shelley was found 0.7 miles from home, having crossed busy Essex Road

Eventually she was found by “a lovely gentleman”. “He hadn’t seen the posters, but another friend of his had and put him in touch with us,” said Ms Jackson.

Shelley, who measures just 25cm and is eight years old, was found 0.7 miles from home, having crossed busy Essex Road. It took her five days to cover a distance it would have taken an average person around 10 minutes to complete.

Ms Jackson, her dogs Charlie and Destiny and housemates Milly, a chef, and Becky, who works in human resources, were delighted by Shelley’s safe return yesterday (Thursday).

“It’s great to have her back,” Ms Jackson said. “Charlie was so excited to see Shelley again. We didn’t expect her to go so far.

“I thought she would be hanging around our road somewhere, hiding under a bush. I can’t believe she crossed Essex Road.”

The moment Charlie was reunited with Shelley

She added: “She lives in our front garden, which is completely enclosed. She loves hanging out there with the dogs and sunbathing. We keep her out there all the time so we were shocked to find her gone.

“The postman must have left the gate open. We’ve now put up a notice say­ing: ‘Watch out: free-range tortoise on the loose’.”

The fast­est speed clocked by a tortoise was 0.28 metres per second, achieved by Bertie at Adventure Valley, near Durham.

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