Published: 00:00, 29 April 2014
| Updated: 12:09, 29 April 2014
Police are hunting a burglar after more than 80 budgerigars, canaries and finches were stolen in west Kent.
There have been six reported thefts of birds since January and it is believed thieves are raiding domestic aviaries in order to satisfy demand from buyers in other countries.
Between April 10 and 11, around 30 canaries were stolen from an aviary in Brenchley Road, Brenchley.
Thieves left behind just one bird, which had been injured and could not fly.
Weeks before the break-in the owner had been approached by a boy aged around 12, who had asked if any of the birds were for sale.
Another 30 birds were stolen between March 18 and 19 when two separate properties were raided in Hillingdon Rise, Sevenoaks.
Breeds targeted included goldfinches and bullfinches.
Other reported incidents include a number of ducks stolen from a large pen in Goudhurst Road, Tonbridge and the theft of 20 canaries from cages inside a garden shed in Aylesford.
Sevenoaks Inspector Robert Slade has advised owners to secure their aviaries and consider investing in sensor lighting or CCTV.
"We believe that criminals are targeting breeders of quality exhibition budgerigars, canaries and finches" - Insp Robert Slade
He said: "Large quantities of birds are being stolen at a time, from domestic aviaries which are usually situated in rear gardens.
"These offences have occurred across west Kent and we believe that criminals are targeting breeders of quality exhibition budgerigars, canaries and finches."
Officers are also reminding owners to be vigilant if they are approached by anyone attempting to sell birds.
Inspector Slade added: "People need to ask themselves how these persons have identified them as bird keepers, how they got their names and addresses and whether are they selling them legitimately."
Anyone with information or concerns about the theft of birds should contact 101 or call Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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