CALLOUS thieves stole seven birds of prey from an enthusiast who has spent his life building up the collection.
Leslie Copeland, of Seaham, County Durham, spoke of his devastation last night, describing the birds as his passion and “what made him get up in the morning”.
The thieves smashed their way into his aviaries and escaped with three adult Harris hawks, a fledgling Harris hawk, two leannar falcons and a barn owl.
A falconer’s glove and two perches were taken along with the birds which, together, have a value of several thousand pounds. They were stolen between 9pm on Tuesday and 6.30am yesterday from the back garden of Mr Copeland’s house in Windermere Road, where he keeps his birds in three aviaries.
Mr Copeland, 54, said: “I’m absolutely devastated. It’s what keeps me going – you really build up a bond with the birds. It’s my only pleasure really, I don’t go out drinking. I looked out of my window early this morning and all the windows and the door of the aviary were open. I knew what had happened – it was horrible".
Anyone with any information should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 55111
(Reproduced from the North-East Journal April 30th)
Gardien Tip: Make it difficult to get into the garden in the first place - see http://www.garden-security.co.uk/garden-crime-prevention.aspx.