Bird thief snatches pet from shop

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The Independent Online

Police are hunting a brazen thief who walked into a pet shop, snatched a £1,650 Galah from its cage and stuffed it into a bag.

The youth stole the 19-week-old pink and grey Australian cockatoo from under the noses of pet store staff.

The theft was captured on CCTV which shows the culprit casually walking out of the Porton Pet and Aquatic Centre in Porton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, on July 25.

The man, who was with an older woman and a younger boy, ripped the padlock off the cage and put the bird in a bag.

They left in an old style blue or silver Renault Megane.

It is not known what sex the bird is as it is too young.

Gareth Allen, owner of the pet store, said: "It's a wonderful bird who was hand reared so it is like a teddy bear and completely defenceless.

"These birds live for 60 to 100 years and they need a lot of care and attention which they won't get in the wrong hands.

"Bird thefts are a big market. They seemed like a family group so they could have done it for themselves or stolen it to order.

"If someone ran out of the shop with an £8,000 pond pump I wouldn't be as bothered as it's just an object, but it is the welfare of the bird that is our concern.

"These birds are not stupid, they are like children, they need a lot of work.

"Galahs are not commonly sold in pet shops so if someone has one they will be talking about it, someone must know where it is."

The suspect is white with short dark hair and was wearing a white T-shirt with a picture on the front and jeans.

The woman was white with long blonde hair, which was darker underneath.

She was wearing a white top, a long white skirt and white trainers.

The younger boy was white, in his early teens, with short dark hair and was wearing a royal blue T-shirt and dark or khaki-style trousers.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact PC Charlotte Amos at Amesbury Police on 0845 408 7000.