Police officers in Exeter received an unexpected surprise when a tortoise wandered into the police station.
The reptile, named Pasquale, ambled into the station after going missing five days earlier.
PC Maria Canning – who is a tortoise owner herself – volunteered to look after the tortoise trespasser until its owners could be found.
Pasquale is now safe and well back home.
PC Canning said: “Pasquale was very lucky and had to cross some busy roads to get here. He had a great little holiday and we’re all really glad he got home safe.”
“Last Friday officers at Exeter Police Station spotted that an animal visitor had infiltrated the grounds. A local tabby roaming around is a regular sight, but officers have never seen a lost tortoise hand itself in before,” said Devon and Cornwall Police.
“Pasquale, who it was later discovered had gone missing from his Exeter home five days earlier, was taken into the station by the officers. PC Maria Canning volunteered to look after the tortoise trespasser until its owners could be found.
“While he was in the officers’ care, Pasquale also got to have a VIP tour of Exeter Police Station which opened earlier this year. His tour included the new custody centre where staff were delighted to give him a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes.”
Tortoises are reptiles which are particularly distinguished from other turtles by being land-dwelling, while many other turtle species are at least partly aquatic.
A typical pet turtle can live up to 80 years, while a giant turtle can survive for more than 100 years.