Couple who gave up jobs and bought a zoo last year ’are £350,000 in debt’

Dean Tweedy, pictured, and his wife Tracy bought the zoo last year (Picture: Caters

A couple who gave up their jobs and bought a zoo last year are £350,000 in debt, it has been reported.

Dean and Tracy Tweedy purchased Borth Wild Animal Kingdom near Aberystwyth, Wales, last summer, moving 200 miles from Kent with their three young children.

Dean, 50, and Tracy, 47, left their jobs as a street artist and a psychotherapist to run the wildfire park.

However, the couple reportedly owe creditors up to £350,000 after the zoo was temporarily closed and two lynxes died.

The Cambrian News reported that a petition earlier this month by creditors at the High Court in London to wind up the wildlife park was adjourned.

One of its creditors, Grenke Leasing Ltd from Guildford, Surrey, sought a compulsory winding up order because of debts owed to them.

However, a judge has adjourned the matter until September 19.

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In a statement, Mr and Mrs Tweedy said: “Due to the zoo’s lengthy closure by the council following the lynx escape we regrettably have experienced financial difficulties.

“The sum of £350,000 actually includes the loan obtained to purchase the property and the money directors have used from personal funds to keep the zoo running.

“Now we are open and the summer is here we are in a much healthier position and with careful budgeting we will come out of these difficulties.”

Pic by Laura Dale / Caters News (PICTURED: Dean Tweedy and his daughters, left to right, Paige, Sophie and Sarah, at their zoo in Wales (Picture: Caters)

The couple run the zoo with the help of their three youngest children, Paige, Sarah and Sophie, and a team of six zookeepers.

Last October, an 18-month-old lynx called Lillith was shot dead by the council at a caravan park after she escaped from her enclosure by jumping over an electric fence.

A week later, a second lynx died after it was accidentally strangled by staff at the zoo when it became caught in a catch-pole used by a keeper.

The council closed down the zoo but it was later reopened on the condition that additional expert staff would be recruited.

Mrs Tweedy told The Daily Telegraph: “We owe £7,000 for a coffee machine. The other figure that has been quoted actually includes our mortgage and sums owed to the directors from the company. It all makes it look 100 per cent worse than it actually is.”

“The good news is this summer has been busy, our customers are happy and business is picking up.

“Hopefully, over the next few months we can really turn this around.”