Tortoise returned after Lancaster pet shop raid

The tortoise that was taken during the raid has been returned.
The tortoise that was taken during the raid has been returned.

A tortoise has been returned to a Lancaster pet shop after it was stolen in an overnight raid.

A number of animals including four baby snakes, a tortoise and reptiles were taken during a burglary at A.J. Exotics & Pet Supplies, on Ullswater Road.

Police were called to the business around 10.45am on Thursday (December 14) to reports of a burglary.

Officers believe the pet shop was broken into between 6pm on Wednesday (December 13) and 9.30am on Thursday.

Since the burgular, owner Ashley Parsons has said he would drop all charges with the police if the animals are returned.

On Saturday the tortoise was returned to the shop.

“We have officially got the baby tortoise back,” said Ashley, 25.

“We’re so happy right now!

“Unfortunately the snakes a lizards are still missing and out there.

“But this is at least a start to prove we are getting closer to finding the animals and who did this!

“His little guy won’t ever be leaving now though.

“He has a home for life hear with us!

“He’s still very shaken but coming round from his ordeal!”

Ashley arrived to the shop on Thursday morning to find the front door was unlocked.

“They broke into my mums car on Beamount, my mum had a spare set of keys in her car, they found them and went to the shop and stole a range of animal stock,” said Ashley.

“They also took the charity boxes, things were damaged and smashed.

“We had a freezer full of frozen snake food, that was missing.

“The guinea boxes had been messed with, but none of them were taken.

“My ferret in the back was shaken, he was frightened to death, the poor thing.

“I went into the stock room, all the things had been moved in there.”

Around £120 was taken from the cash till, charity boxes to Wolfwood and Animal Care were also stolen.

“It is coming up to Christmas they thought lets get some presents, the thing they stole were very specific,” said Ashley.

“They would need to keep the animals in the correct temperature to keep them healthy, I know the animals will be suffering.”

Ashley opened the shop in August 2014, his first business venture since he studied animal care at Lancaster and Morecambe College.

Ashley said this is not the first time the shop has had a spell of crime,

“There was an attempted break in three months ago but they didn’t get in, the area is full of crime at the moment,” he said.

An investigation has been launched and no arrests have yet been made.

If you have any information please call police on 101 quoting crime reference number WB171872.