More than 400 budgies, worth more than £60,000, have been stolen from a breeder’s home in Hampshire.
Thieves cut the wires to security lights before breaking into the locked aviary in Upton Crescent, Romsey.
The budgerigars were stolen in special transportation cages that belonged to the 74-year-old victim. Only seven birds were left in one cage the thieves left behind.
A Hampshire police spokesman said: “The 74-year-old victim had been building up the extensive collection of the birds for over 50 years.
“The budgies are believed to be worth around £60,000. It’s thought the thieves escaped with the birds through a golf course which runs behind the property.
“Officers think it is likely more than one person was involved and it would have needed a van or something or a similar-size vehicle to take the birds away.
“All the bird have rings on their legs with serial numbers on.”
A 25-year-old Southampton man has been arrested in connection with the theft and is being questioned by police. No birds have been recovered.