A pigeon fancier is appealing for help to find his stolen birds after thieves ransacked his homemade Cree.
Tom Fry says he has been left angered and disappointed after discovering 12 of his Birmingham Roller pigeons had been taken from the garden of his home in King George Road, South Shields.
It is thought the theft happened sometime overnight on Sunday into the early hours of Monday morning.
The birds, worth around £25 each, were kept in a Cree which had been smashed open by thieves.
So far, one of the pigeons has returned leading to Mr Fry to believe they could be in close vicinity.
The 76-year-old, who has owned and breeded pigeons since the age of 10, said: “I have been breeding these birds for a long time and they are my own special breed.
Whoever it was left behind a screwdriver with blood on it which the police now have. Hopefully, they will be able to get som DNA from it and catch those repsonsible.Tom Fry
“They are not racing pigeons, anything outside of three miles they would not be able to find their way back home.
“One of them has returned which makes me think they could be close by.
“I check on them regularly and with me being retired I’m always pottering about in the garden.
“This has happened through the night. Nothing else was taken or damaged just the pigeons.
“Whoever it was left behind a screwdriver with blood on it which the police now have. Hopefully, they will be able to get some DNA from it and catch those responsible.
“I’m not happy at all about it. Somebody has come into my garden and took my property.”
It is the second time during his time of breeding and owning birds Mr Fry has had his pigeons stolen. The last time was 35 years ago.
With the help of the Gazette the birds were eventually returned to him. He is hoping people will once again be able to help return his stolen birds this time.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “Between 6pm on Sunday February 4 and 10am on Monday February 5, nine pigeons were stolen from a pigeon loft on King George Road.
“Inquiries are ongoing but police are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information about the incident to get in touch on 101 quoting log 286 05/02/18 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.