At two and a half feet tall and with a wingspan of more than twice that, an eagle owl isn’t exactly the typical target of a burglary.
But two owls are still missing after thieves unlocked their aviaries during a break-in at the home of fencer Neville Edwards and his wife Nicky in Goudhurst Road, Cranbrook.
Seven aviaries containing the couple’s collection of 16 owls were opened during the raid last Wednesday night. A container was also broken into and thousands of pounds worth of tools stolen.
Most of the birds have been recovered. Four are flying around the area, returning to the property to be fed, but two – a 24-year-old milky eagle owl, and a four-year-old Turkmenian eagle owl – have disappeared without a trace.
Mr Edwards, 50, said: “They do mean an awful lot to us. We’ve had owls for 30 years and have made a lot of very good friends as a result.
“When we lived in Five Oak Green we were well known for our collection and together with my late father-in-law owned about 50. The milky owl was actually bought for him for his 50th birthday so has an awful lot of sentimental value.
“I think they’ve tried to lead us up the garden path by releasing all the owls and have actually stolen these two. The fact such large birds haven’t been seen in the area suggests they were taken.”
He added the milky owl was one of a pair who had shared an aviary for 24 years.
Its partner has been recovered but has been a lot quieter in the past week.
Two chain saws, a metal cutter and incubators were also stolen.
If anyone sees the missing owls, they are asked not to approach them as they will be nervous, but to call 01580 388915 or 07880 867249.