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Has stolen falcon been spotted in Suffolk?

PUBLISHED: 16:30 28 November 2019

Dancer was taken last week, but has reportedly been spotted in Suffolk Picture: TONY JAMES

Dancer was taken last week, but has reportedly been spotted in Suffolk Picture: TONY JAMES

Archant

The owner of a prized falcon that was stolen from his garden has thanked the public for their efforts after witnesses reported spotting the bird throughout Suffolk.

Dancer the falcon is 11-years-old and has been with her owner Tony for her whole life Picture: TONY JAMESDancer the falcon is 11-years-old and has been with her owner Tony for her whole life Picture: TONY JAMES

Tony James' peregrine falcon Dancer, an 11-year-old female, was taken from her owner's garden by thieves near Bucklesham last week.

Falconer Mr James said he left Dancer in his garden in Newbourne Road to go to work last Thursday, but returned to find her, as well as the perch she was stood on, missing.

Suffolk Constabulary said Dancer was taken between 2pm and 4.30pm on Thursday, November 21. The force has warned other owners to ensure their birds are tagged and easily identifiable in the instance of similar thefts.

The Suffolk Rural Crimes Unit was contacted, with hope that CCTV footage in the village will be able to track down the thieves.

Devastated at the ordeal, Mr James, who has owned birds for more than 40 years, posted on social media in an attempt to spread the word of the theft of his bird.

The appeal caught the attention of Rory Stewart, who is campaigning to be Mayor of London, who re-tweeted the news to his 224,000 followers.

Members of the community have offered their financial assistance to track down Dancer, with the reward fund standing at several thousand pounds.

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Speaking last week, Mr James said: "The recurring nightmare is that she is stressed and being badly handled.

"She could have been taken by an opportunist, or someone targeting birds of prey, claiming her for breeding.

"It's had me in tears."

In the last few days, falcons, or birds of a similar description to Dancer, have been spotted in addresses in Suffolk.

Cathy Howard, who lives in The Grove in Ipswich, said she saw a bird of a similar colour to Dancer on her neighbour's roof on Sunday.

Meanwhile, another witness believes a bird on a post outside Barking Nursing Home near Needham Market may have been the missing falcon.

Mr James thanked everyone for their support in the effort to track down Dancer.

He said: "The connection I have with Dancer is impossible to replace.

"The best wishes of everyone who has helped has just been incredible. It's been humbling.

"I can't thank everyone enough for their help - it's beyond belief. I owe a big thank you to everyone."

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