A village peacock has disappeared with increasing suspicions that it may have been murdered.
The bird, known as Pat, became a loved resident of Thimbley, near Northallerton in North Yorkshire.
Gunshots were reportedly heard last month and the village pet has not been seen in its usual tree since.
Local resident Michael Read said he would rather have been shot himself than see Pat hurt.
“He was beautiful and everyone loved having him wander into the gardens. He would fly onto our garden gate and into a tree at night – it was wonderful to see him.”
“It is shocking that people think they can just do what they want – if I had known what the noise was that night I would have told them they had to shoot me first,” Mr Read added.
The much loved peacock would wonder between gardens and live off scraps left out by the villagers.
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His arrival in the town remains a mystery, with one local villager explaining that he just turned up suddenly.
“He turned up mysteriously in the first place, no one seems to know how he just arrived”, the Telegraph reported the anonymous resident as saying.
The motive for the potential murder remains unknown and local police have said no arrests have been made and they are unable to take the matter further.Reuse content