LITTLE Tortoise has been reunited with its owner after being rehomed by the RSPCA with a stranger who refused to give him up.

He was one of two tortoises being cared for by widow Kit Allen, 81, after the death of her husband in 2007.

He wandered out of Mrs Allen’s Barnehurst garden and away from his companion of 25 years, Big Tortoise, and was found by a neighbour who handed him over to the RSPCA.

The animal charity rehomed him and when Mrs Allen finally tracked him down, the new owner refused to give him up, despite pleas from Mrs Allen and the RSPCA.

In the meantime, Big Tortoise was pining and refusing to eat.

But, following a story in News Shopper, Little Tortoise’s new owner had a change of heart.

She rang the charity after the story appeared and said she had changed her mind, and was willing to give him back.

A delighted Mrs Allen picked him up the same day.

She said: “They showed me three tortoises and asked me to pick him out.

“Luckily, I was able to do so.”

She said: “I brought him home and took him back out into the garden and into the little house where they go into in the evenings.

“I heard lots of shuffling about and toing and froing.

“They were obviously pleased to see each other.”

Mrs Allen said she had almost begun to despair of ever seeing Little Tortoise again, until News Shopper intervened.

She said: “I could see my chances fading away, although I was never going to give up.

“Now I have got my happy ending.

“I am sure Big Tortoise will start eating again.

“And I am very, very pleased.

“It is lovely.”