A lady from Orpington has been left devastated after her birthday tortoise was stolen.

Health worker Joyce Evans, of Tubbington Close, was given Sam about nine months ago as a present for her 60th.

Daughter Sarah Fitzgerald, 31, said her mum is “really upset about it” and has launched an impassioned plea on Twitter to track the companion down.

She explained: “She’s distraught and can’t sleep. She’s just so worried that he is lonely and frightened.

“We’ve told the police but there’s not much they can do – we just want to find him.

“He’s only a little tortoise.”

Mrs Fitzgerald said she helped her mum search high and low for the pet, but to no avail, and has offered a £50 reward for Sam’s safe return.

The tortoise has been missing since Wednesday, when apparently a neighbour saw a man clamber over Ms Evans’ garden fence claiming to be her son.