A breeder of homing pigeons has had about 120 of his birds stolen in three separate break-ins in the past four weeks in southwestern China.
The pigeons were worth more than 70,000 yuan (HK$80,000), according to Chengdu breeder Yang Yuanfu, the West China City Daily reported.
Thieves cut through mesh fencing and the wooden side of the dovecot to reach Yang’s pigeons, which he kept on the roof of a residential building near his home, for a third time on Monday after two earlier burglaries in October, the report said.
Yang said he had tried to deter the thieves by changing the locks of the dovecot after the two earlier break-ins.
He said he had once had up to 140 homing pigeons, but now had been left with just over 20.
Zou Shicheng, another breeder living near Yang, said he no longer kept homing pigeons after the loss of 110 of his birds in three separate break-ins.
There were insufficient security guards to keep watch on the area and no surveillance cameras were installed on the roof of the building, a security guard was quoted as saying in the report.
An official at the local homing pigeons association said the thief might be stealing the pigeons to sell for high prices, or to simply to eat them.
Top homing pigeons,which are given rigorous training by breeders, can attract high prices when offered for sale.
A homing pigeon bred in Chengdu was once sold for 970,000 yuan, the report said.