Vaseline used to free tortoise Tommy from sundial

A reconstruction of the scene at a home in Norfolk
Image caption Tommy the tortoise became trapped on a sundial in Norfolk

A tortoise trapped by a sundial has been freed by a firefighter using a pot of petroleum jelly.

Fifty-year-old Tommy was "hissing" after his leg became trapped in the cast iron base of the garden ornament in East Harling, Norfolk, on Wednesday.

Derek Sim, station manager at Thetford Fire Station, said releasing him was one of the most "bizarre" experiences of his 20-year career.

Tommy is said to be "sore", but recovering after a trip to a vet.

Mr Sim took 10 minutes to free Tommy.

He said Tommy's owners had been correct to call the fire service, and that in such cases just one firefighter would be sent to help the animal.

That firefighter could then assess if back-up was needed, or if other agencies such as the RSPCA needed to be called, he said.

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