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Owner heartbroken over stolen pigeons; Fifth raid on loft in last seven years.

Byline: Paul James Chief Reporter

AYOUNG woman last night spoke of her heartache after 13 of her prized pigeons were stolen - the fifth time her loft has been targeted.

Helen Conley has had some of the birds for 12 years, since taking up her hobby at the age of 11.

The 23-year-old was at work when her loft at the allotments in Broom Cottages, Ferryhill, County Durham, was broken into on Tuesday.

Yesterday, Helen, who works in the office at Moorside Technology College in Consett, said she had no idea why anyone would want to steal her birds, some of which she was due to enter in a competition this weekend.

She said they were worth less than pounds 10 each, but were of huge sentimental value.

Helen, of Bridge House Estate, Ferryhill, who is at the loft twice a day and is helped by parents Janice and George, said: "I had entered three of the birds for a National Pigeon Association Show in Hurworth, near Darlington, on Saturday and I am absolutely heartbroken that someone could do this."

Tuesday's break in, which happened between 9.15am and 3.15pm, was the fifth time her loft has been targeted in seven years.

Three of the pigeons taken were Birmingham Rollers, three were Feather Legged Tumblers and the remaining seven were Old Dutch Capuchines.

Helen's interest in pigeons started at the age of 11 when she saw some at an agricultural show, and she had a collection of 40 until Tuesday's break-in.

She added: "There's locks on the gate.

They would have had to get over a couple of fences to get in. It's unusual during the day. The pigeons are locked up at night, but during the day the doors are open to let the light and air in.

"I've had about 40 stolen over the years. They're ringed, but they can just take the rings off and there's no proof they belong to you. I'm devastated."

Durham Police are investigating the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Durham Police on 0345 606-0365.

I've had about 40 stolen over the years.

They're ringed, but they can just take the rings off

CAPTION(S):

SICKENED Helen Conley and one of her Old Dutch Capuchine pigeons.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 20, 2008
Words:376
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