Budgie smugglers traumatise children and leave them in tears after targeting school

A side-by-side of a child with a budgie on her head an an aviary.
Thieves broke into the school in a north Bristol suburb to swipe the 20 budgies (Picture: SWNS)

Children were left ‘in tears’ after cruel thieves broke into their north Bristol school and stole their 20 pet budgies.

For years, students and staff at Brentry Primary School would come into school to the bright trills, songs and warblings of budgies living in an outside aviary.

But smugglers snuck into the school grounds at around 11:30pm on Wednesday and stole the birds in three breeding boxes, CCTV showed.

Yesterday morning, the school’s caretaker was shocked to see the now silent and empty cage.

The news left the school students and staff alike ‘heartbroken’ (Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

The thieves likely couldn’t fit all the birds into the boxes, meaning some might have flown away into the frosty night, said school business manager, Hannah Jack.

Now the school is appealing to residents to come forward if they know anything about the theft or if they’ve seen people suddenly selling budgies.

Hannah said: ‘It is absolutely heartbreaking. We are all devastated, we’ve had teachers in tears, children in tears.

‘They really are part of the family, everyone loves them and it’s so terrible they’ve been taken like this. Why would someone do this?’

The school first took in two budgies seven years ago, with by pure chance a third bird being rescued from a drain on the school site.

A purpose-built aviary was made for the dainty parakeets in 2018 during a school refurbishment.

The school built an aviary for the budgies (Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

For a typical budgie, the aviary was a five-star resort, with heated areas and plenty of room to fly about.

Soon enough, more of the brightly-feathered birds were donated to the school and some had babies.

‘The Year 6s are responsible for them, and it’s a big thing,’ said Hannah, who is also chair of the PTA.

‘They have to feed and water them, clean the aviary out and look after them. At the weekends, the site caretaker looks after them. They are well-loved and it’s been lovely that they’ve been able to breed.’

‘It’s just so awful that someone would do this,’ she added.

‘They’ve climbed into the reception play area and then got round to the aviary, smashed open the bolt and got in.

‘It’s just so sad.’

A school official fears that any escaped birds will perish outside in the cold (Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

Hannah is doubtful about whether their kids will ever be reunited with their pets.

‘We’re not hopeful we’re going to get them back,’ Hannad added, ‘but someone must know something about where they are now.’

Budgies, also called budgerigars, are native to the warm and dry plains of the Australian Outback.

With their small bodies being built to survive toastier temperatures, budgies struggle in anything below 15°C as the risk of hypothermia grows.

Amid a nationwide cold snap, the mercury in Bristol has been in the low single-digits for days – today will be a high of only 4°C.

‘The ones that might have flown away, they won’t survive. It’s too cold and they’ll get attacked too,’ Hannah added.

Avon and Somerset police are collecting dashcams and CCTV from people who may have filmed the incident.

‘Police are appealing for witnesses and information after thieves stole around 15 budgerigars from an aviary at Brentry Primary School at about 11.30pm last night, Wednesday 8 March,’ a spokesperson said.

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Bristol – Metro