Exeter man, 56, to appear in court in connection to dead giant tortoises found in East Devon woods

A man from Exeter will tomorrow (Thursday, May 30) appear in court in connection to the deaths of giant tortoises found in woods in East Devon.

Gary Priddle, aged 56, of Grecian Way, Exeter, is due before magistrates to face animal welfare and environmental charges.

Several protected Aldabra tortoises were in early January found dead in Ashclyst Forest – part of the East Devon Killerton estate – and five more bodies of the protected animals were found nearby several days later.

Priddle, who was charged under the Animal Welfare Act and Environmental Protection Act, will appear at Exeter Magistrates’ Court accused of failing to check on the daily welfare of ten tortoises, and their heating system, resulting in the animals’ death, and leaving their bodies in the East Devon countryside.

The animals’ deaths prompted a Devon and Cornwall Police investigation, with officers teaming up with the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the RSPCA to determine how the tortoises died.

Post mortems were carried out on the tortoises after their bodies were recovered from the East Devon countryside.

At the time, police issued a public appeal in a bid to determine how the tortoises were in the woodland.


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