By Becca Husselbee
A family are shellshocked after their pet tortoise who had been missing for two years turned up at their former home a mile away.
Sophie Bevan had searched high and low for Arnie for months when he first crawled off .
But just when they had given up hope of ever finding the much loved wanderer, a former neighbour discovered Arnie just a mile away.
And incredibly last week he was found walking up the drive of the couple’s old home.
The family were reunited after they proved it was Arnie when they matched up markings on his shell.
Sophie, 53, said: “We haven’t got a clue where he’s been but the speed he goes he can’t have gone very far!
“It is incredible that our old neighbour found him as we haven’t lived there for twenty years.
“He disappeared about two years ago when someone left the gate open and he wandered out when we weren’t looking.
“We desperately hunted for him and even asked our local farmer to keep a look out.
“But by the time winter had come and gone I just presumed he wouldn’t of made it.
“It’s a miracle that we have got him back.”
Sophie, husband Richard, 52, and their three children, Orlando, 23, Tilda, 20 and Fabian, 18, had cared for the Macedonian tortoise for eight years.
He built up a reputation for roaming about their home in Middleton, Shrops.
Sue, who helps Richard run a furniture design firm, added: “Arnie was a Christmas present for our daughter Tilda about 8 years ago, she’s animal mad and that’s what she asked for.
“We always had a box for him with a light that he liked to sit under. I used to put him out in the garden as it’s more natural for him.
“He used to like making nests and roaming around.
“After he had gone missing we kept his things and his box for ages in the hope he would come home.
“Then out of the blue we had a call from our old neighbour, who we are still good friends with, to ask if we still had our tortoise as they remember us having one.
“We were completely shocked when she said one had been found at our old house.
“I wasn’t sure it was him at first but Tilda had put a small green blob of paint on his shell years ago and it was still there.
“I took the dog with me and I knew it was him because when she saw him she ignored him like she always did.
“I didn’t tell anyone till I brought him home and posted a picture on the family WhatsApp group saying ‘look who’s back’.
“He was completely unscathed even though he’s spent two winters outside . “I can’t believe he didn’t get eaten by a fox or something.
“He is still his normal self and has been eating loads since he has been home.
“They were all thrilled his was home and Tilda has been giving him a bath.
“We are just very cautious now and I keep an eye on him all the time as well as keeping the gate shut.
“He will be a pet for life.”
Ex- neighbour Sue Millington, 60, who lives in Hopton Cangeford, Shrops, tipped off the family after recalling they had lost their pet.
Her window cleaner had found Arnie wandering up to the house’s front door.
He said: “The window cleaner presumed it had just belonged to the home owners but when they said no, he asked us.
“I suddenly remembered that Sophie and Rupert had one.
“The strange thing is the tortoise never lived at this address but still made its way here – maybe it detected some old smell.
“It must be around three miles which is nothing but to a tortoise that’s very far.
“Sophie didn’t recognise him at first because he had grown so much but when she looked at some old photos his markings matched.”