Five rare monkeys stolen from Blackpool Zoo in 'targeted theft'

Three of the animals are a critically endangered species and all need specialist care in order to survive

Five monkeys have been stolen from Blackpool Zoo during an overnight burglary, Lancashire Police have reported.

Two female and one baby Cotton-top Tamarins, which are a critically endangered species, and two male Emperor Tamarins have been reported missing. All need specialist care and keepers are said to be “very concerned” about their welfare.

Police believe the animals were targeted specifically and their details have been circulated to all ports and airports in case the thieves try to take them abroad.

Andy McWilliam, investigations officer at the National Wildlife Crime Unit, said there is "definitely a market for these monkeys" and they are making inquiries across Europe.

Darren Webster, the Zoo’s Director, said they are “extremely saddened” by the incident and stressed it was “imperative” the monkeys received the correct care in order to ensure their survival.

Five monkeys have been stolen from Blackpool Zoo during an overnight burglary, Lancashire Police have reported. Five monkeys have been stolen from Blackpool Zoo during an overnight burglary, Lancashire Police have reported. “All the animals were born here at Blackpool Zoo and are part of our zoo family, so I would like to urge anyone with any information to contact the police.”

PC Steve Higgs, of Blackpool Police, said: “It would appear from the way that these thieves have broken into the zoo that this was a planned and pre-meditated crime and that the offenders knew what they were looking for and knew that the monkeys would be in the enclosures.

“I would appeal for anyone who has any information or any witnesses who saw anything suspicious on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning to get in touch. It may be that there were dog walkers around at that time who may have seen people acting suspiciously.

“I would also appeal to anyone who may be offered these animals for sale to contact the police.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police quoting log number 0583 of 30 April.

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