A DEVASTATED bird-lover lost her prized flock when thoughtless yobs broke into her home-made aviary.
Shirley Iddison has spent eight years converting a garden shed into a home for more than 20 birds ranging from finches and doves to canaries and cockatiels.
But her entire collection has been wiped out after someone sneaked into her property in Shields Terrace, on the Central Estate, in Hartlepool, during Wednesday night.
It is unclear whether the intruder stole the animals, which are valued at £200, or just set them free.
Shirley, 53, said: “Some of these birds I have bred myself. I’ve even had to dispose of baby chicks and eggs they have laid because all the birds are gone so there’s no-one to rear them.
“It’s not that they are worth a lot of money, but so much hard work has gone into them with all the feeding and the cleaning.
“I love my birds.”
Shirley said access to the shed is through a double-door and that it was impossible that it had happened by accident.
Police visited her home on Thursday to investigate what had happened and checked the shed for fingerprints.
Shirley, who lives with her security guard son Dale, 22, added: “The police came and were really good.
“They said whoever it was had been in my other shed and went through my toolbox to look for screwdrivers and stuff like that.
“I don’t know if they knew the birds were there when they went in the aviary, so whether they just left it open or whether they took them I don’t know.
“Hopefully someone has seen my birds or know where they are.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “We received a report of a burglary at an address in Shields Terrace, on the Central Estate.
“We are investigating and inquiries are ongoing.”