Our pets were stolen for food - claim

Stephen PullingerThe owners of neighbouring businesses in Great Yarmouth have been left devastated by the theft of their pets, which they are convinced were taken for food.Stephen Pullinger

The owners of two neighbouring businesses in Great Yarmouth have been left devastated by the theft of their pets, which they are convinced were taken for food.

A tame Aylesbury duck was taken from the yard of Tick-Over Motors, off Sidegate Road, Runham Vauxhall, and two rabbits, five guinea pigs, two baby pigeons and two budgerigars were stolen from the riverside garden of the nearby Suspension Bridge pub.

Garage owner Derek Mays, 58, said: "The thief climbed over the fence of my yard on the night of Saturday, April 24, and took the duck from its pen.

"There were feathers with skin on left behind. I believe they whacked him with a metal post I prop the door open with and dragged him out. He can only have been taken for food."

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He said the disappearance of the duck, who they had named Biggles, had left his labrador Jack and golden retriever Casper at a loss.

Mr Mays, who also has an African Grey parrot called Rambo which he takes home every night, said: "In the weeks we had Biggles he had become extremely tame.

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"He used to go and sit between the dogs and would wander up to us in the garage when we were having a cup of tea, and quack when he wanted his bath water changing."

Publican Wendy Smith, 50, said she and her husband Douglas, 58, had been away when her pets were stolen on Wednesday night last week.

She said: "They took away a triangular hutch where I had separated two heavily pregnant guinea pigs and they tore through the wire of the big pen to get at the guinea pigs, rabbits and pigeons. One of the rabbits was a giant lop-eared rabbit worth about �90.

"They obviously could not get the adult pigeons because they were flapping about. Why would anyone take the baby pigeons which have not even got feathers yet unless it was for food?"

She said children were used to like seeing the pets on the way to school and they were popular with customers.

PC Tracey Riddell said: "It is really weird. Why would anyone take a duck? We wonder if there is a connection with the reported disappearance of squirrels from Yarmouth cemetery last November, which was also rumoured to be for food."

Vagrants living in tents under the bridge had initially been accused, but they had already been moved on by police.

� She asked anyone who may have seen the thefts, or anyone acting suspiciously on the nights concerned to contact her on 0845 4564567.

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