I still pray stolen birds will return: Pigeon fancier
A pigeon fancier whose prize-winning birds were stolen said he is living in hope that he will get them back.
Thieves took about 50 pigeons from Harry McCloy's lofts in Cullybackey, Co Antrim, between Friday and Saturday. They are thought to be worth around £8,000, but to Mr McCloy the tame birds are invaluable.
It is thought the all-Ireland champion racing pigeons are being held captive somewhere, as they would fly home if released. Around nine stock pigeons, used for breeding, are also unaccounted for.
Mr McCloy began racing in 2006 and has become very attached to the pigeons he has trained.
"I keep going out to the lofts hoping that with all the publicity, the people who've taken my birds will have released them," he said. "But the pigeons haven't come back, though I still live in hope."
Mr McCloy said if anyone spots a pigeon they believe could be one of the stolen birds they should get the ring number, which should be quite visible.
"Even if they get part of it, I will know if it's mine. Some people are scared or a bit timid with birds, but they don't even have to go near them," he said.
"I know pigeon fanciers all over Northern Ireland, so I can ring one near to them and they can go round and collect the bird."
Mr McCloy has also offered a £2,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of his pigeons.
He can be contacted on 077 8412 3056.