Above, Police were supplied with images of some of the stolen birds, which included a goldfinch and two pied bullfinchs


POLICE HAVE WARNED rural birdkeepers to be vigilant after three men were arrested following a string of British bird thefts over one January weekend in rural Kent.

Dozens of finches, cross bills, twites, siskins and redpolls were taken in two raids on a property near Stowting in the Kent Downs, while more than 50 birds, as well as two ferrets, were reported stolen from another property near Lyminge, a few miles away, on the Sunday night.

A 47-year-old man from Ashford was arrested after a search of a house in the nearby village of Great Chart, in which a large number of birds were seized. It is possible that some of these birds included some wild-caught birds. But many of the others have since been identified by the victims of the alleged thefts.

Police also seized a collection of stolen items during t heir search. They also recovered a car that had been reported stolen in July of last year in Maidstone, and two more Ashford men, aged 28 and 57, were arrested on suspicion of theft. All three men have been released pending further investigation.

Police have not yet identified the owner of a further 14 birds that were found at a home in Crundale Close, Ashford Sergeant Darren Walshaw of Kent Police’s Rural Task Force said: ‘‘We often work closely with the RSPCA on such investigations if we suspect that we have found wild-caught birds and their officers can identify them for us. We urge people in rural areas to be vigilant and call us regarding any suspicious activity.

“If you see anything worrying in the countryside, call 101 and ask to speak to your local rural police team. “If you keep birds, it’s also wise to check your security measures. Consider installing CCTV, extra lighting and burglar alarms if you can.’’

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