A HARRIS hawk has been returned to its owner after police found the bird during a drugs raid.
Officers became aware that the stolen bird could have been brought into the north of Lancashire when a car was stopped in Lancaster on January 24 and a bird of prey hood, reported stolen from a falconry centre in Settle, Yorkshire, was found inside.
Two days later, a drugs warrant was executed by the Morecambe neighbourhood policing team at an address in Bold Street. Inside officers discovered some cannabis and a Harris hawk shut in a small storage room.
The bird was later recovered with the help of staff from Cuerden Birds of Prey and Lancashire Constabulary’s wildlife officer. Checks made on its leg rings revealed that it had been stolen from Skipton and it has now been reunited with its owner.
Inspector Dave Vickers of Morecambe police said: “Harris hawks are birds of prey and need a lot of specialist care and attention if they are in captivity. This bird was loose in a small flat in which a dog was present, so it was removed on animal welfare grounds and because we identified it as stolen.
“The rightful owner was quite concerned that the bird may not be looked after properly after it was taken and fortunately we were able to return it to them in good health and before any serious harm came to it.”
North Yorkshire Police are now investigating the theft of the Harris hawk.
Anyone with information about crime is asked to contact police on the new number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.