Plea to find gun-toting bird killer

A GUN-TOTING yob has killed eight of Mervyn Johnson's beloved pigeons in two years and today the devastated bird-lover wants the killer caught.Mr Johnson, 60, of west Ipswich, said the last straw came when he found when one of his birds dead in his pigeon loft, believed to have been shot in the head with an air gun.

A GUN-TOTING yob has killed eight of Mervyn Johnson's beloved pigeons in two years and today the devastated bird-lover wants the killer caught.

Mr Johnson, 60, of west Ipswich, said the last straw came when he found when one of his birds dead in his pigeon loft, believed to have been shot in the head with an air gun.

The latest death follows seven others over the past two years - all found near Mr Johnson's home with air gun wounds.

Mr Johnson, who has been involved in pigeon breeding and racing the majority of his life, said: “It breaks your heart.

“I just can't understand who would do such a thing.”

“Whoever it is must be taking pot shots every now and again.

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“It has been going on for some time now and I let it go but this time I thought I would have to report it.”

Mr Johnson around 50 birds - half of which race in national competitions covering distances of up to 400 miles at a time.

He also has 18 breeding pigeons that have been retired from racing as well as six young birds.

During his time racing pigeons, Mr Johnson has won a number of competitions and some of his birds are worth in excess of £1,000.

He said the latest pigeon to be killed was found dead on Sunday having flown more than 300 miles back to Ipswich from Dunbar in Scotland.

Mr Johnson said: “When I came back home I found the bird laying dead in the loft. It had been shot.

“It has got to be someone living close to here.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said the incident is being investigated.

n.Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

n.Have you or one of your pets been the victim of an air gun attack? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Pigeon racing facts:

n> Pigeon racing is based on the remarkable homing instinct of pigeons, which enables them to return to their loft over distances of many hundreds of miles.

n> British pigeon fanciers are particularly proud of their role in the second world war, when highly trained pigeons were used for communication. Pigeons were parachuted in small containers into occupied Europe with instructions for the finder to attach espionage messages to the birds, which were then released to fly silently and undetected back to lofts in Britain.

n> There are currently around 83,000 registered pigeon fanciers in Britain.

n> When racing, the birds are transported to a liberation point; a ring is placed on one leg; and, when released, the bird returns to its loft, where the ring is removed and placed in a special clock which registers the exact "timing in" of the bird.

n> The official British duration record for a pigeon is 1173 miles in 15 days.

n> The highest race speed recorded is 110.07 miles per hour

n> Top class birds have been sold for more than £100,000.

Source: internet

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