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Thieves break into an aviary at a Hampshire home and steal dozens of canaries before escaping on two bicycles.

Thieves escape with 81 canaries

At least 81 birds worth a total of £1,000 were taken

Thieves have stolen dozens of canaries from a Hampshire home, before escaping on two bicycles.

Police believe two men broke into an aviary at the home of Andrew and Janet Self in Arnheim Drive, Lordswood, at about 0300 BST on Friday.

Mr Self said he was devastated to lose his prized collection, which he had been rearing for nearly four decades.

Mr Self, a retired gardener, said about 81 Fife canaries worth £1,000 were taken, including 51 young birds.

He said: "I´m absolutely gutted. I have been in this house for 38 years and we have been keeping birds all that time.

"My wife woke up and said she heard a noise. I looked out of the window and I could see two torch lights."

By the time Mr Self went outside, his aviary was empty.

After a search of nearby trees and bushes, he realised they had been stolen.

"It´s quite devastating to be honest for myself and my wife. For the first two days I didn´t eat anything."

"It´s so quiet in the garden now. In the morning when the sun was out, they would all whistle away.

"I hope whoever took them treated them properly."

Anyone with information should contact Hampshire police.