Police were today hunting a jealous rival who broke into the home of one of Britain’s top budgerigar breeders and stole 21 birds – and then STAMPED on the champion budgie.
Devastated Andrew Pooley, 58, believes he was targeted by an envious breeder and his collection of prize birds deliberately sabotaged – the night before a top show.
Andrew had left his home for just a few hours when he returned to find his aviary had been broken into and 21 of his prize budgies – worth £2,000 – stolen.
But he was left heartbroken when he saw that the attacker had STAMPED on and killed Penmead Pride – his best of breed champion.
The ritualistic killing happened the night before the Cornwall Budgerigar Show – where Penmead Pride was crowned champ last year.
Andrew, of Delabole, Cornwall, had been due to take part in the event but was forced to pull out after the theft and death of his top budgie.
Devon and Cornwall Police are investigating the crime and say they believe the culprit is from ”the bird keeping community”.
Andrew, secretary of the Caged Bird Society, said: ”I feel terrible. It has been my life’s work and Penmead Pride was my first registered champion. I can’t believe it.
”Whoever took them knew what they were doing because they have taken the best of the best. It must have been someone who wanted me out of the show.
”The person that did this knew which birds to take and then had the gall to kill my pride and joy. This was a deliberate cat of sabotage.”
”The ones they left are very good birds, but not up to the standard of the ones I have lost.
”Since the attack seven more have died just from shock, it’s completely destroyed my faith in humanity but I’m not going to give up and let them win.”
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: ”We were called to the property on August 20 after the owner found 21 birds worth £2,000 had been stolen. Some had also been killed.
”By the nature of the incident it appears the home has been deliberately targeted by someone in the bird keeping community.”
Andrew – who now has 42 birds left – has bred budgies for 40 years and Penmead Pride was his first champion after he won top prize at the show in 2009.