RAIDERS who clipped the wings of pigeons stolen from a community farm in Bury have been branded “evil” by their owner.

Stuart Andrews said that 10 birds were recovered from a house in the town after the theft of 25 racing pigeons, valued at £1,000, from Pimhole Community Farm in School Street.

He said: “We had 25 pigeons taken altogether. Ten were found with their wings clipped and 15 are still missing.

"Each has one bright yellow and pink ring which is numbered. I’m desperate to get them back.”

The farm owner said he was “sickened” by the discovery of the birds, which had their wings clipped to stop them flying.

“It’s truly horrible. It’s like breaking their legs and they can’t fly now. They’ve cut out their feathers and it’s cruel what they have done. They’re evil people.

"It will take a long time before their feathers grow back,” said Mr Andrews.

“These racing pigeons have won awards. The poor birds are shaken and very nervous. The people who did this knew exactly what they were doing.”

The 74-year-old added: “When we discovered that the farm doors were open, we thought that the goats had been hitting their heads against them. But when we found out that around 25 of our 100 pigeons were missing, we realised the loft had been broken into.”

Mr Andrews has owned the two-and-a-half acre farm for 30 years, but only opened it to the community in 2004. Two years ago, thieves stole pigeons, hens, doves and rabbits in three separate raids within just six days.

Pimhole Community Farm works with young offenders and those on community service, as well as with schools.

Police say their inquiries into the theft of the pigeons are continuing. Anyone with information should ring 101 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.