A 90-year-old tortoise was narrowly saved from incineration after being rescued from a garden waste bag – by a thermal imaging camera.
Westminster City Council staff tracked down the pet after its owner alerted them to its plight – by rummaging through 1,000 rubbish bags.
Using thermal imaging software and GPS tracking, 90-year-old tortoise Zuma was hunted down on his way to a waste plant and rescued after a two-and-a-half hour rummage through ten tonnes of garden refuse.
Zuma had crawled into a bag which, along with 1,000 others, was on its way to South East London Combined Heat and Power facility.
Sarah, from central London, 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.
“I can’t thank Jarno Stet from the council, Lynn Davis from Veolia, plus Ben and Simon from SELCHP enough.”
During the hunt, a thermal imaging camera was even used, and incredibly Zuma was found safe and well.
Lynn Davis, Contract Manager for District Heating at Veolia, said: “I’m delighted that were able to find Zuma and return him to Mrs Joiner unharmed, he really has survived against the odds.
“The team at SELCHP were all keen to help when they heard what had happened and together we were able to ensure that the search was conducted safely and effectively.
“This was certainly a different way to spend a Friday afternoon and I’m just relieved we were successful.”