CONSERVATION chiefs fear a fragile colony of rare birds could become extinct after thieves stole 50 eggs.
The little terns which fly from Africa to Crimdon have survived the elements and are vulnerable to natural predators like sparrow hawks and kestrels, but Durham Heritage Coast chiefs have branded the “human predator” who has stolen the eggs as “morally repugnant” and “criminal”.
The theft was discovered yesterday morning by warden Trevor Stephenson.
Durham Heritage Coast officer Niall Benson said: “Last year the colony raised no chicks and this year has seen far fewer birds nesting. This loss is another hard hit and likely to lead to the extinction of the colony at Crimdon. What makes it worse is that these eggs are two thirds through incubation with well-formed chicks inside.
Anyone with information about the theft should contact Peterlee Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.