Belfast Telegraph

Family tortoise Roly 'taking well-earned rest' after city adventure

A family is celebrating after being reunited with their wandering pet tortoise, who escaped their garden in Liverpool and ended up in Widnes.

No doubt inspired by the fable of the tortoise's victory over the hare, 10-year-old Roly made a break from Andy and Joanne James's home in Aigburth when they accidentally left the back gate ajar on Monday.

Once free, Roly began his adventure, inching his way down the alleyway and out into the heart of the Merseyside suburb.

Back at home, Mr and Mrs James were undertaking a frantic search for a pet beloved by their young boys Dylan and Matthew, even enlisting the help of the local bin men.

"The bin men thought it was hilarious that my tortoise had done a runner," said Mrs James.

"One asked what his name was, I said 'Roly, but he doesn't have ears, so he won't hear you calling for him'."

While the couple focused their search on the alleyway, convinced plodding Roly could not have gone too far, the shelled explorer was almost half a kilometre away on a main shopping street.

The first leg of his journey ended when he paid a visit to a local tile shop.

The surprised owner, who found him at the front door, started canvassing neighbouring houses to see if anyone's tortoise was missing.

Mrs James, a sales rep for Handyman brewery who is originally from Northern Ireland, said at that point the power of social media took over.

"I had done a shout out on Facebook on Monday night asking if anyone had seen a tortoise," she said.

"Fortunately a former colleague of mine, from the other end of Liverpool, said she had seen someone on Facebook saying a tortoise had been found in Aigburth.

"It turned out that was the wife of the tile shop owner.

"Roly was found outside the shop, when he was closing up on Monday night.

"The shop owner had knocked doors but no one knew who owned Roly, so he took him home.

"He eventually decided to take it to a pet foster home in Widnes. That's where we ended up being reunited.

"We definitely wouldn't have got him back if it wasn't for social media."

Roly is now back in the garden, with the gate firmly closed, taking a well-earned rest.

"He has burnt his foot a bit, so must have stood on something hot," said Mrs James.

"And his poo was pink for a while, so goodness knows what he ate on his adventure."

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