Manchester

Birds of prey stolen from sanctuary in Worsley

Hope the Harris hawk
Image caption Hope, a Harris hawk, is still missing

Three birds of prey, including an owl, were stolen from a bird sanctuary in Greater Manchester.

Thieves smashed the locks of the aviary at Wild Wings Birds of Prey Centre in Worsley some time between 17:00 BST on Sunday and 14:30 BST on Monday.

They took an African tawny eagle, a Harris hawk and a snowy owl, owner Ian Middleton said.

The owl and eagle were left in a box outside a derelict pub in Mosley Common.

Mr Middleton said the sanctuary received an anonymous phone call on Monday night and collected them shortly afterwards.

However, Hope the nine-year-old Harris hawk, is still missing.

'Could die'

Mr Middleton, who has about 65 birds at the sanctuary, said he rescued her about two years ago.

"We have spent a lot of time on her," he said. "She had frostbite in one of her wings.

"Whoever has got her won't have a clue. She could die if we don't get her back.

"I'm just hoping whoever has her will give her up."

He said Hope was a large brown bird with grey around the face, with yellow legs and a yellow beak.

She has a red and blue ring and cannot fly well, Mr Middleton said.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed officers were investigating and urged anyone with information to contact the force.

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