After dressing in protective clothing, Mrs Joiner and staff used a thermal imaging camera to hunt for the lost tortoise amid 1,000 bags of rubbish. He was eventually found amid a pile of lettuce leaves and plucked to safety.

Ms Joiner, 56, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said: “Thank you is never going to be enough.  It was amazing teamwork; there was no nonsense about it just enormous good will in finding him.”

Spurred tortoise Zuma, whose full name Montezuma,  has lived with Ms Joiner for 40 years, has now returned safely to his home.

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