Missing tortoise returned to family after trip to film festival

Ken, a male Hermann's tortoise, about 10 years old was picked up by twn men driving a red car in Uffington on Thursday
Ken, a male Hermann's tortoise, about 10 years old was picked up by twn men driving a red car in Uffington on Thursday

A family’s tortoise which went missing from a garden in Uffington has been returned after a public appeal.

Motoring journalist, Jonny Smith, 34, lost Ken the tortoise when he let it out for some exercise in his garden at his new home in Greatford Road, Uffington.

The Hermann’s tortoise, which is less than 10 years old, normally lives in an enclosure but the Smith family have only lived in the village for two weeks and have not built a new one yet.

The 7in tortoise, which Jonny described as a “treasured member of his family,” went missing at about 4pm on Thursday.

But Jonny announced on Twitter on Friday: “Tortoise update. Ken the lost tortoise is alive and well and has been to a film festival. I kid you not. Being brought home tomorrow.

“Many thanks to everyone for their tweets and grapevine activity. Weirdly, Ken the tortoise was rescued from certain roadkill by a Jonathan Smith.”

Mercury photographer Jonathan Smith picked up the tortoise after having to swerve to avoid it on the road.

He enquired about who owned the tortoise with neighbours but no-one knew who owned it so he took Ken with him to Burghley Film Festival where he was heading to watch The Duchess and The King’s Speech.

After making an enclosure in his car Jonathan shared some lettuce from his picnic with the tortoise and went to watch the films.

Jonathan took the tortoise to the vets on Saturday to see if it was tagged and returned it to its owners yesterday (Sunday) after seeing their appeal online.

Jonny said: “It is a miracle he is alive really because there is a lot of traffic on this road and a lot of tractors with the harvest.

“It is ironic I drive fast cars for a living and I have lost one of the slowest animals in the world.”

Jonny, who has two children, Kitty-Mae, three, and Wesson, one, went to every effort to find the lost family pet, contacting the newspaper and local radio station as well as putting up posters around the village.