Champion budgie's owners agony over killing

A budgerigar breeder launched a fresh appeal for information today after his champion bird was killed in a suspected sabotage attack by a rival.

Andrew Pooley, 58, returned home on August 20 to discover that two of his prize birds, including Penmead Pride, had been killed and 21 others, worth £2,000, stolen.

The theft and destruction of the prize-winning budgies took place the night before the Cornwall Budgerigar Show - where Penmead Pride was crowned champion last year - leading to suspicion it may have been carried out by a rival.

Mr Pooley, from Delabole in Cornwall, spoke today about the agony of finding his champion budgie dead.

He also announced he would offer a reward of around £200 for information leading to the birds' safe return or to the arrest and conviction of the thieves.

Mr Pooley, who is being helped by former Thames Valley Police detective John Hayward, said: "Either somebody hates me a lot and wanted to kill that bird to hurt me or they've accidentally stepped on the birds.

"You can't explain to somebody how you feel. All my life I've been trying to breed a bird like this and I eventually got there.

"I had two or three like it to be honest, which were stolen and taken away from me and this one (Penmead Pride) was killed.

"I picked it up in my hand and I just couldn't believe that somebody had killed that bird - it's like me losing one of my children."

Mr Pooley added that concern for the stolen budgerigars' welfare remains high.

"I'm never going to give up trying to find the person that done this. Whatever it takes I'm going to find that person," he said.

"All I want him to do is put the birds in cages, phone John and tell us where to go and pick them up. I don't care if it's Scotland, we'll go and pick them up.

"I just want to know what's happened to those birds and I want to know who's done it, because they've got to be stopped."

Speaking of his devastation he added: "I don't want anyone else to feel like I'm feeling because I don't think I'm ever going to feel better about it, not now, tomorrow, in five years' time, I can't get back what I had."

The attack happened between 4pm and 10pm at Mr Pooley's home on Penmead Road, Delabole.