A COUPLE had to beg for the return of their pets after bailiffs locked them out of their bakery.

David Lyons and Pauline Leggett say they were left humiliated and homeless when they returned to find they could not get in to Baxters Bakers and Confectioners, in Old Heath Road, Colchester.

They ran the cafe, bakery and sandwich shop at the premises, which was also their home.

But they were left with just the clothes on their backs after falling behind with the rent.

They said it was only after police were called they were able to rescue their puppy Rosie and 54-year-old tortoise Wilma.

A note was put on the door by bailiffs earlier this month stating the lease had been forfeited and the landlord had taken possession.

Mr Lyons said the couple had run the business since 2004, but by 2010 had run into difficulties and had rent arrears.

An agreement to pay off the arrears collapsed and the locks were changed.

Ms Leggett said: “The first few days we were shell-shocked.

“We have not got any of our possessions. We were left on the pavement, humiliated and homeless.”

The couple are disputing the amount owed and the matter is with solicitors.

If agreement cannot be reached, the couple may be forced to sell the lease and move.

Mr Lyons said: “We would like to thank customers and everyone for their kindness.”