Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Probe after 52 racing pigeons killed in Edinburgh

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Media captionPigeon owner Brian O'Neil described the attack on his birds as "shocking"

A racing pigeon owner in Edinburgh has been left devastated after 52 of his birds were killed in a "sickening" attack.

It happened at his property in Old Dalkeith Road sometime between 2000 BST on Friday and 0700 BST on Saturday.

Brian O'Neill said he had locked his lofts for the night but in the morning found one lying on its side and the 42 adult and 10 baby birds inside dead.

He told BBC Scotland he believed they had been struck with a stick.

Lothian and Borders Police have appealed for information.

The value of the dead pigeons is estimated at about £30,000.

Mr O'Neill, who won 28 trophies with his racing pigeons last year, said: "It's shocking that someone could come here to a private property and kill pigeons at their will.

"These pigeons are my life. I've spent a lifetime on them, making them what they are. Now I've got to start all over again."

He said he thought the birds had died after being hit on the backs with a stick and he described those responsible as "cruel".

A police spokesman said: "This has been a sickening act of animal cruelty, which has left the birds' owner extremely upset at the death of his birds.

"Anyone who can assist us in identifying those responsible for this incident is asked to contact police immediately."

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