Thieves leave staff in a flap

Castle Morpeth gardener Mark Nisbet at the aviary in Carlisle Park where  13 of the 30 exotic birds have been stolen.
Castle Morpeth gardener Mark Nisbet at the aviary in Carlisle Park where 13 of the 30 exotic birds have been stolen.
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PARK staff are coming to terms with the loss of several aviary birds after a break-in last week.

Thieves escaped with 13 birds, including a valuable Senegal parakeet, after breaking into the aviary in Morpeth’s Carlisle Park.

The parakeet, known as Cheeky, is worth £200, while the six cockatiels and six budgies that were taken are worth between £5 and £20 each.

However, the monetary value is of little importance to staff and visitors to the park, who now fear for the welfare of the birds.

Northumberland County Council Green Spaces Officer Emma Evans, who manages the park, said: “It is so sad that this has happened.

“Given that these are aviary birds, they do need special care — people would need to know what they were doing with the birds, particularly the parakeet.

“Cheeky is really noisy so he wouldn’t be an ideal household bird, he is not the easiest bird to keep.

“The police think the people who took the birds knew what they were going for, but we are concerned about their welfare and not knowing where they are. We just hope whoever has got them knows what they are doing. There are about 17 birds left in the aviary, including some love birds. I think they probably would have been taken if the thieves could reach them, but thankfully they roost quite high.

“A volunteer who looks after the birds is very upset that they have gone and the public are also missing them.”

The theft of the birds is believed to be the first of its kind since an aviary was put in the park in the 1950s.

All of its birds are donated by people who can no longer care for their pets and many former owners would often visit them.

Mrs Evans said: “People are disappointed about the theft and park visitors have been going past the aviary expressing their dismay that something like this has happened and somebody could take the birds.

“The aviary is a popular attraction in the park for families.”

The theft took place between 3.30pm on Wednesday, March 30, and 7.50am the following morning.

A copper rainfall gauge that was supplied by the Environment Agency and monitored by the park staff was also taken.

Morpeth Neighbourhood Inspector Alison Best said: “I’d appeal for anyone who was in the Carlisle Park area overnight between Wednesday and Thursday and who saw any suspicious vehicles or people to contact police with any information.

“If anyone is offered the birds for sale or knows where they are being kept then I’d ask them to ring police, or Crimstoppers anonymously, and help us to get them back.”

Anyone with information about the incident can call police on 03456 043043, ext 69191, or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.