Above: this song thrush cock of T. & S. Paterson had won top awards at Ollerton & Bevercotes CBS’s 2018 open show, but was stolen during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend


A STUD OF exhibition softbills in South Yorkshire was targeted by thieves during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and more than 20 birds were taken.

Husband-and-wife partnership, Tom & Susan Paterson of Barnsley, went to tend to their birds at about 8am on April 21 and were shocked to discover that one of their garden sheds had been broken into.

A number of their exhibition and breeding colour mutation blackbirds and thrushes, as well as greenfinches, redpolls, linnets and a siskin, were taken – many of which had won top awards at shows in 2018.

Mr Paterson, 84, who has kept birds since childhood and is an experienced exhibitor and judge, said: “I believe the birds were stolen between 4-6am that morning, as one of the blackbird hens had three-day-old chicks in the nest that were cold but still alive. We are now hand-rearing them.”

The couple also found that the thieves had cut through barbed wire inside a hawthorn hedge to gain entry to the garden. The 46m (150ft) shed, which houses nine aviaries, had the padlocks and bolt forced off.

A stud of exhibition Fife canaries, which is kept in another shed closer to the house, was not touched.

Mr Paterson believes the thieves knew exactly which birds to look for. He added: “They took particular cocks and hens – many of them show winners – from each aviary and left others behind.”

Barnsley Police is looking into the incident.

Birds stolen: the roll call
THE following birds were taken from Mr & Mrs Paterson’s aviaries: a satinette hen blackbird; a blue blackbird cock; a cinnamon/satinette carrier cock blackbird; five normal hen blackbirds; four normal cock blackbirds; a cinnamon song thrush hen; a cinnamon/satinette carrier cock; a pair of normal thrushes; a satinette greenfinch hen; a cinnamon carrier cock; a cinnamon greenfinch hen; two cinnamon/satinette greenfinch carrier cocks; three cobalt common redpolls; three normal common redpolls; a pair of linnets and a siskin cock.

If you recognise any of the mentioned birds for sale, please call 101 stating crime reference number 14-64642-19.

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