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Twenty tortoises worth £20k are stolen from garden

Twenty valuable tortoises have been stolen from a breeder in what an expert said is the largest theft of its kind in the UK.

The collection - worth up to £20,000 - was targeted by thieves in the early hours of Wednesday in the Reigate and Banstead area of Surrey.

They made off with 17 rare Marginated and three Spur-thighed tortoises which were kept in the garden of the owner's home.

John Hayward, of the National Theft Register which monitors animal losses around the country, said it was the "highest value and most substantial" tortoise theft he has recorded.

The victim of the burglary, who did not wish to be identified, was "completely shocked".

"I expect they are worth somewhere between £15,000 and £20,000 but that doesn't really come into it - I don't think about the cost," she said.

She said the tortoises that were stolen had an average age of between 60 and 80. One was over 100.

Belfast Telegraph