Couple heartbroken after more than 100 birds stolen
- Credit: Danielle Booden
A Norfolk couple have told of their heartbreak after burglars stole more than 100 birds from an aviary at their home.
Craig Secker and Gary Secker, from Seething, south of Norwich, have spent the last eight years collecting, caring for and breeding birds from around the world in a 45ft long aviary in their back garden.
The pair had acquired around 140 birds including breeds such as the African Yellow Weaver, Snowflake Quail, Zebra Finch, Strawberry Finch, Owl Finch, Rose Bourkes, Yellow Elegance and Cordon Bleu.
But on Friday morning, when they went to feed the birds, the couple discovered that their pride and joy had been taken.
Craig Secker, 41, said: “My husband went down to feed the birds yesterday morning and the padlock which was on the outer door was gone, it had been cut off.
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“You go into a shed part first with bird feed, bins, nest boxes, and he instantly knew what had happened, they had literally taken everything.
“Then he noticed on the inside safety door, that it had been crowbarred open.
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“When he went in there, you could see there were a couple of dead birds on the floor and very few left flying around.
“They have taken somewhere between 100 and 120 bird, including some of our hens.
“We are just devastated, absolutely devastated.
“The birds absolutely love the snow and the crisp mornings they are usually singing all day and yesterday it was just silent. We are heartbroken.”
Mr Secker believes it was a premeditated burglary, which took place between 12pm and 6am, Thursday night into the early hours of Friday morning, on February 12.
The value of the birds taken is estimated at around £10,000 to £12,000, including feed and equipment taken.
The incident has been reported to the police who sent crime scene officers to their home on Saturday.
The couple are now offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of the birds.
Mr Secker added: “We had African Weavers and they had started building their nests. They are high levels of birds and the fact we had a breeding pair.
“The monetary value isn't important to us, it’s what they have taken from us, it’s the enjoyment and the excitement in the spring of seeing what’s breeding, the fledglings.
“I know some people will find it silly and say they are just birds but they aren’t. They meant a lot to us.
“Somebody came onto our property and took them with no care for their welfare, I just think it’s disgraceful. It’s a violation.
“I was talking to the police officer yesterday and he said the crime rate for this kind of thing, and dogs, is going up exponentially.
“But the community response has been amazing. We are absolutely devastated but it shows what wonderful people we are all surrounded with its just the minority who spoil it.
"If you have any information please contact me via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Norfolk Constabulary on 101 reference 36/9265/21."