Belfast Telegraph

Exotic pets stolen from Ballymena pet shop returned after public's help

Man arrested after police searches

Exotic pets stolen from a Ballymena pet shop have been returned safely.

Owners of Ladysmith Pet Shop were left heartbroken after thieves raided their business, stealing a host of exotic animals including their beloved African Grey parrot Barney.

Snakes, chameleons, cockatiels and other pets were among the creatures taken after thieves broke in through the roof in a break-in discovered on Monday morning. Money was also taken.

Less valuable animals such as finches, budgies and bearded dragons were not targeted in the heist.

Branding those responsible "scumbags," shop owner Marion McAuley (64), who has had Barney as a pet for the last 10 years, said the animals would "deteriorate quickly" without the specialist care they need to survive.

Barney, seven tortoises, one python and two lizards were found during a police search of a house in the Lanntara area of Ballymena on Thursday morning.

Police said they were able to make the find after information from the public.

Chief Inspector Simon Ball said: “I would like to thank the community for the information provided, through our local social media accounts and directly to the Neighbourhood Policing Team, which has brought this incident to a successful conclusion. One man has been arrested on suspicion of burglary and handling stolen goods and our enquiries will continue in an attempt to secure convictions for all of those involved in this crime.

"I would appeal to anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that could assist with the investigation, please contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 213 04/12/17. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous.

"All animals are thankfully safe and well after their ordeal."

Marion McAuley of Ladysmith Pet Shop after thieves stole Barney the parrot
Marion McAuley of Ladysmith Pet Shop after thieves stole Barney the parrot
Stolen reptiles
Stolen reptiles
Barney the parrot
A scene from the CCTV footage capturing the thieves during the burglary

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