PET owners are invited to bring their tortoises, terrapins and turtles for a special health check at the weekend.

The bi-annual event at the Wilko store in The Rock also gives visitors the chance to check their pets are a healthy weight.

Organised by the northern region of the British Chelonia Group, the weigh-in aims to increase awareness of the needs of tortoises and terrapins, and to physically check them over for signs of ill health or problems.

John Thorpe, the group's regional chairman, said: "The event has been going for more than 30 years and exists to promote responsible care of pet tortoises, terrapins and turtles.

"There will be physical health checks as well as access to advice, which is all free and open to anyone who needs help and information regarding their precious animals.

"Normal hygiene precautions are carried out during examination, and we are proud to have saved many lives over the years by detecting problems and directing owners to treatment or a change of husbandry technique for the animal's benefit.

"These much misunderstood animals can easily become ill through improper care, often due to genuine ignorance of their needs, and prevention is always better than cure — and a lot less expensive."

Veterinary surgeon and reptile specialist Gillian Mostyn will be on hand to carry out checks, and Mr Thorpe will be available to offer advice and information.

Last year about 36 animals turned out to the event.

The British Chelonia Group has asked owners to keep their animals warm and secure during transit, and separate from other pets on the day to avoid any risk of spreading illness.

The spring tortoise weigh-in will take place at Wilko, The Rock, from 10am until shortly before store closing time at 6pm.

For further information call Mr Thorpe on 0161 764 7078 or email