Published: 09:51, 09 November 2012
Giant tortoise Blake was stolen from outside a hospital in Dubai
by Jo Earle
Gillingham FC chairman Paul Scally has been left shell-shocked - after one of his family's pet tortoises was stolen in Dubai.
The precious pet, called Blake after Blake Fielder Civil, was nabbed by a man outside a hospital just yards from the football boss's home.
Mr Scally said the animal - who is a much-loved family pet alongside tortoise Amy, named after the late singer Amy Winehouse - had escaped from his property.
He said it ended up outside a hospital in the Al Barsha district of the city about 200 yards away.
Security staff spotted Blake and had called a vet to help.
But a mystery man who is said to have wanted the tortoise for his young son was already loading the animal onto a van.
Mr Scally, pictured left, said his daughters have been left devastated by Blake's disappearance, while Amy is so depressed she has retreated into her shell.
He has now turned detective in a desperate bid to find the tortoise, which was a gift to the family.
Mr Scally said: "Despite the efforts of a security guard, a guy got hold of Blake and put him into his truck.
"The guard did take the registration number and we've managed to trace who it is, but we can't find where he is.
"The police have taken it seriously and also blocked the borders leading out of the Emirates.
"I'm now appealing to everyone to find Blake and this driver."
Giant tortoises weigh as much as 660lbs and can cost hundreds of pounds.
The Scally family have owned the tortoises, which are both 30-years-old, for two years and they have become precious pets.
Mr Scally added: "My wife is a huge lover of tortoises and was given them to her as a gift by some VIP Emiratis.
"The children and the family are all very upset. It's sad for Amy too, I really feel for her.
"I'm annoyed with this guy - he knows he shouldn't have taken it."