A tortoise nearly had one foot in the grave after a car crashed into the garden in Box where it lives.

Hercules, 85, was wondering around his pen in the garden of Toast Coffee House, Market Place, where he has lived all his life, when a Ford Fiesta smashed through the garden fence at about 8am on Saturday.

Following the crash, concern quickly grew for the tortoise, who is well-known in Box, with villagers checking he was unhurt.

Owner Lucy Wright, 30, said: “I wasn’t around at the time but we opened at 8am and the incident happened soon afterwards. I had a lot of people getting in touch with me asking if Hercules was all right before they even asked if any people had been hurt in the crash.

“Thankfully, Hercules was fine and nobody else got hurt either.

“Obviously because everyone in the village knows about Hercules we’ve had a lot of attention and this incident shows just how special he is to Box.”

The driver, from Quarry Hill, was on his way into Bath when he careered into the garden. He was not injured.

Mrs Wright said: “We know he is local and I think he was a little embarrassed by the whole incident but at least nobody was hurt.”

Mrs Wright and her husband, Simon, 50, opened their 1950s vintage cafe, in a converted double garage, three months ago and Hercules tends to draw customers’ attention.

Mrs Wright said: “Simon does tortoise tours and reads stories for the children. Everybody knows Hercules in the village and he’s become a bit of legend, so we try to include him as much as possible.”

The couple have lived at the house for four years and said they were happy to look after Hercules when they moved in.

Mrs Wright said: “It was quite quirky having a tortoise already here, but that drew us to the house and we are delighted to look after him. The only scary thing is that we are so worried that something might happen to him on our watch.

“So I was mightily relieved he was okay on Saturday.

“Funnily, having a car dangling out of the garden did get us a fair bit of interest and we had quite a few people making jokes about us having a drive-thru window.”

Mrs Wright said Hercules will soon be taking a much needed rest when he hibernates for winter later in the month.