Video: Tortoise and quail chicks stolen

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Staff at a family activity centre have appealed for help finding a tortoise and four quail chicks that were stolen by thieves.

Sheldon, a Horsefield tortoise, and the four one-week-old chicks were taken from Sacrewell Farm and Country Centre near Thornhaugh at about 2.30pm yesterday (Sunday).

Sheldon, a Horsefield Tortoise that was stolen from Sacrewell Farm and Country Centre on October 27

Sheldon, a Horsefield Tortoise that was stolen from Sacrewell Farm and Country Centre on October 27

General manager Mike Rooney said: “We are shocked and saddened to learn that someone has come into the farm as a customer and has stolen our animals from us.

“It was a very deliberate act and may have been planned so now we are examining evidence and working closely with the police and the public to get the animals returned to us.”

Sheldon has lived at the farm for four years, is about eight years old and is a favourite with staff and visitors. Tortoise are unusual animals to see at the farm, which generally keeps rare breed and native species, but Sheldon was donated as a pet in 2010.

The tortoise, which was hibernating when it was stolen, is thought to be worth about £400.

Mr Rooney added: “We are worried about the welfare of the animals, especially at this time of the year. It is dangerous for the health of the tortoise to wake him up when he’s hibernating.

“The chicks are also a worry as they had only just hatched out. They are very small and we had them on a special diet and under heat lamps at all times.

“Thefts from farms are on the increase and we are concerned about our other animals. We have stepped up security to ensure that our animals are safe. As a charity we are particularly hard hit and we hope that anyone who visited the farm on Sunday and saw anyone acting suspiciously in the discovery centre will come forward with information.”

Anyone with information about the theft should call Cambridgeshire Police on 101 and quote the crime reference number CF0382361013.