Reward on man missing with one-legged toucan

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The Independent Online
A pounds 1,000 REWARD was offered yesterday for a property developer who disappeared with his one-legged toucan.

Malcolm Kellar, 50, vanished last August with Hoppy the toucan, which has a wooden leg, a lynx, and his private zoo of llamas and peacocks. He left a half-built mansion, set in 43 acres (17 hectares) of parkland, when he disappeared with his menagerie, allegedly owing more than pounds 4m.

A building society has now put Nyland manor on the market for pounds 395,000 and a debt recovery firm is willing to pay pounds 1,000 to anyone who can help to trace the businessman, who was made bankrupt in 1991.

Nick Seller, of Business Debt Recovery in Birmingham, said: 'Mr Keller owes my company in excess of pounds 230,000, and we represent other clients who are owed more than pounds 4m.

'We have been trying to track down this gentlemen for some time in Britain and abroad. We don't know where the animals are - they may be with him. We will pay the reward to anyone who can tell us his whereabouts.'

The 17-bedroom manor house near Cheddar, Somerset, was to have been used by guests visiting the zoo. It was abandoned by builders when Mr Kellar was made bankrupt. Now it is a derelict shell without a roof which architects say will have to be demolished.

The Heart of England building society loaned more than pounds 1m to Mr Kellar against the property. The loan was later taken over by the Cheltenham and Gloucester building society.

Robert Narracott, the architect who designed the manor, said: 'The house would have been very special. It was to have had a billiard room, 17 bedrooms, reception rooms and many other facilities for guests. The builder walked off site when he wasn't paid and Mr Kellar owes my company a considerable amount of money.'