Ammanford residents are being urged to keep their eyes peeled for a runaway.

But the individual in question is no ordinary escapee.

Timothy the tortoise is 40 years old and went missing from his home on College Street on July 8, leaving his family heartbroken.

“We are all very upset,” said owner Gloria Davies.

“We bought Timothy as a pet for our children a couple of years after we moved into our house on College Street about 44 years so he is certainly into his forties.”

“He has basically lived wild in the garden.

“Every winter he used to dig himself in to hibernate and we would not see him again until the next spring, but in recent years we have started bringing him into the house for winter because he is getting on a bit now.”

While there little doubt who has been master of the garden for the past four decades, Timothy has developed a strong bond with Gloria and her family and was always happy to make the most of his neighbours’ generosity.

“We always knew when he was hungry because he would come charging down the garden at quite a pace,” said Gloria, adding that Timothy loves nothing better than tucking into a leaf of iceberg lettuce.

“We all love him and are very sad he has gone – especially the grandchildren,” said Gloria.

“My 10-year-old granddaughter Mia even took him into school for her project three weeks ago.

“We do not know what has happened to him. He cannot get out of the garden to the front because he would have had to climb a set of steps, so he must have gone out towards the back of Iscennen Road but there has been no sign of him.

“We just want Timothy to come home.”

Timothy - measures approximately 14 inches from nose to tail - might seem something of an old stager at 40, but in tortoise terms he is barely out of his teens with regular reports of the creatures living well beyond 100.

Anyone with any information about Timothy is asked to contact Gloria by calling 01269 591239.