Dead tortoise is found by family out on walk

Discovery: The tortoise, inset, and (below) Wayne Bretherton with his family

Discovery: The tortoise, inset, and (below) Wayne Bretherton with his family

A group of walkers were left shell shocked after discovering a giant reptile on the banks of a Lancashire river.

Wayne Bretherton, from Grimsargh, near Preston, was out walking with his girlfriend Lauren Wakefield and relatives when they came across what they believe is a dead tortoise.

Mystery surrounds exactly how the huge reptile came to be by the river and how long it has been there.

It is thought it was probably dumped there.

The 31-year-old primary school headteacher said he was not expecting to come across the creature on the banks of the Ribble.

He said: “It’s a bizarre one. I just thought ‘what the hell is that doing here’.”

Wayne said he thinks it may have been a pet which somebody had dumped and it had been unable to survive.

The dad-of-one added: “We had parked at the Shireburn Arms near Hurst Green and did a loop all along the River Ribble. We found the reptile on the River Bank just before the River Calder.

“There was a man fishing and we had been talking to him. As we walked further up the river it was there.

“I was with my other half and my sister and her family so we all had a look at it and presumed that it couldn’t survive in the conditions.

“Somebody must have dumped it there. It didn’t look like it had been there very long.”

Wayne, who is originally from Wigan and moved to Grimsargh just over a year ago, added: “It was surprisingly big. You see some people have pet terrapins - it was a lot bigger than that.”

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