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Snakes worth £45,000 stolen from pet shop

Snake stolen from Reptile World in Teynham
Snake stolen from Reptile World in Teynham

Snakes worth a whopping £45,000 have been stolen from a pet shop.

In total 66 snakes and three lizards were swiped from Lost World Reptiles in London Road, Teynham between 4.30pm on January 3 and 9am the next day.

Boss John Harrison was devastated when he opened the store with his son Karl to discover the theft.

He said: "We imported many of the snakes as eight-week-old hatchlings from the USA and we have spent the last two-and-a-half years raising them into the juvenile snakes they are today.

"Our passion for reptiles began when we got our first snake 20 years ago when Karl was 15. It started as a hobby but we decided nearly three years ago to open a reptile shop.

"We are absolutely heartbroken at the burglary. Such a lot of work has gone into this shop and now we are going to have to start all over again."

He said the reptiles needed specialist care, and feared the thieves wouldn't look after them properly - ending in their deaths.

Most of the snakes stolen are Royal Pythons of different colour morphs. They range in length from two-and-a-half feet to three-and-a-half feet long and from £350 to £2,500 in price.

The most unusual is a pure white Royal Python with blue eyes, and the biggest is a Red Blood Python which is three-and-a-half feet long and 4in in diameter.

The three lizards taken were rare Kimberley Rock Monitors, each about two feet long and worth £495 apiece.

Detective Inspector Emma Banks from Sittingbourne Police Station said: "This doesn't appear to be the work of opportunist thieves and it's highly likely that whoever stole the snakes and lizards has experience in handling reptiles and had previously been into the shop.

"We are appealing for anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the Teynham area that night, or the vehicle the offenders could have used, to contact us.

"We are also urging anyone who might be offered one of the snakes or lizards for sale to speak to us immediately. We are keen to bring the offenders to justice but the welfare of these reptiles is also a major concern," she said.

If you can help phone Sittingbourne Police on 01795 419182 or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting crime number CY/000188/11.

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