Photo: © Studios. A wild crimson rosella: similar to the Tibbittses’ missing pet bird. The National Theft Register say it is possible that the parrot has been sold locally or released in the Gloucester area

OPPORTUNIST THIEVES IN Gloucestershire made off with a parrot owner’s car, while their beloved pet bird was still inside it.

Though the light blue Jaguar X-Type has since been recovered by police in Matson Lane, Gloucester, Harley, a crimson rosella, is still missing.

On August 31, Keith Tibbitts, 67, and wife Cathy had planned a holiday on their cabin cruiser boat along the Gloucester & Sharpness canal. The couple drove to a remote location in Hardwicke where the boat was moored, and parked up less than 50 yards away to unload possessions – including Harley – from car to boat.

“Without realising, I had left the key in the car’s ignition, which is unforgivable,” said Mr Tibbitts. “My wife thought I’d locked the car, and I’d thought she’d locked the car. I am still kicking myself.”

As the couple transferred items, Harley remained in his cage inside the car, strapped in to the back seat. About the same time, Mrs Tibbitts spotted a cream-coloured van close to their car.

Mr Tibbitts continued: “Clearly some opportunist saw our much-loved Harley in the car and the keys in the ignition, so took their chance.

“The car was found on September 13 and once the forensic examination took place, it was returned to us. However, we would have preferred to have Harley back.

“He’s a sentimental bird, an important part of our family, as well as a link to my late mother who Harley originally belonged to. We are all devastated, especially our three-year-old grandson.”

Harley is about 10 years old and the Tibbitts believe he is a cock bird. He has various catchphrases, such as “How’s Harley?” and “Cheeky boy”. According to Mr Tibbitts, Harley was well known by local boat owners on the canal and often whistles.

He added: “When I realised the car had gone, I had a horrible sinking feeling. All possibilities of where Harley could be go through your mind, and I still feel guilty.

“I just hope some kind person will find him, or have seen him for sale.”

A reward has been offered for the bird’s safe return.

Anyone with information should contact John Hayward at the National Theft Register on 01869 325 699 or email:

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