Police appeal following theft of adult barn owl & five chicks in South Tyneside

Northumbria Police posted the following appeal for information on their Facebook page on 9th December 2021:


We want to identify these two men after a protected wild barn owl and its nestlings were stolen by thieves. An investigation has been ongoing since the early hours of October 27 after it was reported two men had been seen trespassing at farm off Follingsby Lane, West Boldon. It was reported that the offenders stole an adult barn owl and five chicks from their habitat before making off. We have been carrying out a range of enquiries into the theft, which has caused significant upset. All those targeted are wild birds who are protected by law. Now, as part of our investigation, we have released the images of two men who we would like to identify. They were seen in the area at the time of the offence and could have valuable information that could assist with the investigation.

The men, or anyone who recognises them, can contact us via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of our website or by calling 101 quoting log NP-20211027-0182.

Alternatively, you can email 3070@northumbria.police.uk.


11 thoughts on “Police appeal following theft of adult barn owl & five chicks in South Tyneside”

  1. What is wrong with these people, they need to be educated, and apprehended, and need to get a job, and earn some self worth.
    What gives them the impression that they have a right to do these things, the punishment for wildlife crime is far too weak, and obviously does not deter these people from committing crimes.
    I hope the owls are safe, and free, but I fear they will be either dead, or someone’s plaything.
    We need to put a stop to all these flimsy punishments, and make them count, make these criminals think twice, or even think once and not commit the crimes.
    Perhaps a minimum custodial of say 3 years, and much longer sentences for murdering birds of prey, and other protected wildlife, and then fines, well the problem with fines are when the people don’t work, the fine is not a deterrent, they don’t have to earn the money to pay the fine, so it makes no difference to them, and when it it is the rich landowners, and gamekeepers, they don’t care because it does not put a dent into their large income from charging people a fee to murder birds.
    I believe we have moved on from the days where we would club an animal to death, and then drag it back to our cave, although in those days it was done for a lot of reasons, like clothes, food, and weapons and so on, these days it is done for something to do, and something to brag about while drinking alcohol, the birds killed are then disposed of.
    All them poisonous chemicals, and shot left in the wilds, and when birds of prey are killed to protect the game birds they are just thrown into a ditch, or covered up, and nobody ever seems to know who did it, or how it happened, but my question is always this, why are random people allowed to wander around with guns on private land, and the landowners never know who it is, allegedly anyway, if it was my land I would know exactly who has access, and when, and there wouldn’t be any guns, traps, or snares allowed, and no wildlife would be killed by any human on my land, I guess that’s where I differ from the rich folk, because I appreciate the rich tapestry of wildlife, and how it all helps to make the world a better place.
    I sincerely hope these oiks are caught, and perhaps a public flogging before a custodial sentence is handed out, along with a hefty fine, and a lifetime ban for keeping of being involved with any creature , domestic or wild.

  2. These are uncommonly clear infra red pictures (especially the one on the right) given the normally indistinct shots that come from security cameras. The bag carried by the guy on the right is very like the zipper bags used to carry frozen foods.

  3. So – if either, or both of these chancers are identified from these images – what then? I couldn’t see a couple of night-time ramblers being convicted of anything in particular, especially as any hard evidence is long gone, one way or another. There is nothing for the C.P.S. to take board from what we have here even if they are identified.

    I can only hope that there’s more than this that hasn’t been released yet.

  4. And what on earth do these twats think they are going to do with an adult barn owl? If they sell it, it’ll go mad in a cage. Maybe they think it’ll feed its young?? xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

  5. Please PLEASE take even D minutes a day when reading your emails/news, to look carefully at ads for pets & animals for sale on Gumtree, Facebook, Pets 4 homes (notice slight difference from Pets AT home, as subtle changes lend appearance of validity), to easily mislead with unregulated sites. Even valid classified, local & national papers/websites allowing ads to sell animals are used, and I’ve seen many young barn owls, raptor, birds for sale w/claims of papers, sadly forged or found to be fraudulent after purchase. As I have long hoped to re-home, adopt a Kestrel, whilst I prefer to work with a legit raptor rescue rehab facility, with experience from my own former facility vs purchasing one, they and barn owls especially, are in the lowest price range of almost ALL birds, on par w/a cockatiel, less than a parrot! Whilst many are bred domestic for falconry or pets, albiet whilst opinions vary, it IS legal, and regulated better than most, but discerning a breeders validity, licensing, motives still allows an freely abused market, same as puppy farms. Whilst I use Twitter to share RPS articles, on occasion I feel moved to share on this forum either an idea, thought or suggestion; as with heartfelt hopes that ANY wee step may help fight all sides of this heartbreaking, devastating, criminal activity. We are ALL trying, so hopefully someone may read this and twig, “yeah, I saw some young owls/birds for sale” and it leads to any step closer to catching, stopping these evil creeps,and ANYONE using nefarious means to obtain/sell any birds of prey or animals, full stop.
    Thank you Ruth and everyone here, as there isn’t a day that goes by when I read here, and feel humbled, honoured, and comforted to be among such an amazing, caring, lovely group of people. Warmest regards as always, R Elizabeth aka ladybudd XXX

    1. The date these FIVE young owls were born (August) not to mention that they are advertised as NOT hand reared becomes even more disturbing. As I said in my ‘being moderated post’….I genuinely hope the moderation please does necessary redacts/posts my link/info….and perhaps may even pass this info onto someone they know can check out the legitimacy of these birds. Whilst it’s a 2 hour drive from the theft to location of sale, at nighttime I suspect it’s not any further that any one stealing or up to criminal no good travels in an evening. Fingers crossed…Whilst it’s heartbreaking, wouldn’t it be wonderful if something positive DID result in this? Thank you to everyone….Warmest regards always, R Elizabeth aka ladybudd

  6. [Ed: link removed]
    Perfect example. This took my less than a minute, and whilst 4 listings are for barn owls, the 2nd two ads ring alarm bells! I am NOT claiming these are not legal nor from legitimate breeders….but FIVE Barn owls at 75 pounds each to me just screams!! Hopefully our amazing editor will be able to somehow tweak, redact, and then post the content of my link/photos in a manner that adheres to the rules. Thank you, and warm regards to everyone, R Elizabeth aka ladybudd

    1. Ladybudd,
      If you have found advertisements for Barn owls for sale which you think are suspicious then please pass the details onto Northumbria police. Quote the police log number Ruth has included in her report. Alternatively email the investigating officer directly on the email provided.
      The police will know how to treat your information confidentially, and your information may help lead to recovery of these Barn owls and a hopefully suspects in this appalling crime.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: