‘Intruding turtle’ found in electrical substation returned to schoolboy

Mary ran away from her home in Wigan last August, leaving Harvey Dean-Evans “devastated”.

His family gave up the search, assuming the animal had been stolen, after “looking everywhere.”

“Mary is used to being outside,” said Harvey’s mother, Jodie.

“During the summer, we release her regularly in a small corral and she is very well known on the farm.

“But that night in August, she somehow got out of the garden and despite looking everywhere, there was just no sign of her and we thought she had been taken.”

mary the turtle
Mary the Turtle (Ian Robinson/Electricity North West/PA)

With fears for Mary during the winter months, all seemed lost.

But earlier this month, Ben Baxendale, a grounds maintenance worker for Electricity North West, spotted Mary at an electricity substation that feeds Norley in Wigan.

“At first I thought it was some kind of toy on the ground,” Baxendale said.

“Then I saw the turtle move and retract its head into its shell.

“It was certainly something strange and something I had never dealt with before.

“I put the turtle in a bucket and thought I’d knock on a few doors, but I knew if it didn’t belong to anyone, we’d have to find it a home for the weekend.

“We always make it clear that no one should enter our substations, they have ‘danger of death’ signs for a reason, but this is the first time I’ve seen a turtle trespassing.

“I am delighted that we were able to return her safely to where she belongs.”

Deciding to check with nearby houses to see if anyone had lost a turtle, luck was on Mr. Baxendale’s side as the first person he spoke to happened to be Harvey’s grandmother, who recognized Mary.

Tears were shed when the beloved pet returned home,” Jodie said.

“There were all kinds of emotions when we saw Mary,” he said.

“It was such a touching moment to see the smile on Harvey’s face.

“He is genuinely interested in his animals and loves all things nature.

“I was devastated when Mary went missing, but seeing her reaction when she was found brought some of us to tears.

“I honestly can’t thank Ben and Electricity North West enough; They really made Harvey’s day.”


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