Is this the naughtiest tortoise in Britain? Herbert chases seagulls, bosses cats about, and even fights his own reflection

A badly-behaved tortoise who raised hell at his Blackpool home for six years was forced to answer for his crimes when he landed in the docks in TV court.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 1:29 pm

Herbert the 13-year-old horsfield tortoise was invited to make a case for himself on Judge Rinder last week after his owner Sandra Smith, 58, grew wearing of his constant trouble-making.

Sandra and her husband Brendan adopted Herbert six years ago after his previous owner was unable to look after him, and since then he has ruled the roost at their Norcliffe Road home, commandeering the cat flap and pushing cats Rory, Stanley and Ruby out of the way to get to the coziest spot in front of the fire.

Sandra said: "He's a nightmare! He climbs through the cat flap, chases seagulls, and he's very fussy about his diet. He has a tendency to climb and gets into everything. He climbed into the washing machine and my husband had to break it to get him out.

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He may be tiny, but Herbert causes big trouble for his owners
He may be tiny, but Herbert causes big trouble for his owners

"He even smashed a glass table because he saw his reflection in it and thought it was another tortoise!

"He's not frightened of anything. A normal tortoise would go into its shell, but he never does. He pushes the cats out of the way to get to the best spot in front of the fire - he's a menace."

When Herbert came to live with the couple six years ago, they feared the seagulls would think he was a tasty snack, and so Brendan constructed a run for him in the garden... but Herbert made short work of it.

He then showed the seagulls who was boss by chasing them off at his usual glacial pace.

A video of Herbert squaring up to the seagulls caught the attention of TV barrister Judge Rinder, who invited him and Sandra to appear on the show with the possibility of winning damages from the tortoise's former owner to make up for his endless trouble-making.

The show, which was recorded in Manchester in November, aired on ITV last week. Unfortunately for Sandra, the case did not rule in her favour as she had owned Herbert for so long.

"It was all a game; I knew I wasn't going to win but they wanted Herbert on the show," Sandra, a carer and a mum of two, said. "They all loved him and wanted to stroke him and pet him.

"You can't help but love him. He's such a character."