thieves have stolen five rare hens and a cockerel, leaving the owner reeling.
Patrick White awoke on the morning of Tuesday, February 15, to find the hen-house in the back garden at his Crich Lane home had been raided.
The 64-year-old former policeman believes the poultry, a special breed called Welsummer, were specifically targeted.
Now he says he will pay a £500 reward for information that will lead to the thieves’ capture and the safe return of his birds.
Patrick, who has kept hens for five years, said: “It is a sign of the times and it will get worse before it gets better. “I locked them in on the Monday night at 6pm. By Tuesday morning at 7.30am they had gone.
“It is as if they had been hand picked. Somebody knew.
“They are Welsummers, a special breed. They lay the darkest of dark eggs, darker than a Terracotta plant pot. The cockerel is less than six months old.”
Patrick, who eats the eggs the hens lay and gives some away to friends, said he was now appealing to the public to help find the birds.
“We are asking people to be nosey on their neighbours,” said Patrick. “If somebody notices that a neighbour has suddenly come into a cockerel and five hens, then contact the police.
“I can positively identify all the birds. There are certain characteristics about them that we can identify.”
If you have any information on the theft, contact police on 0345 123 3333.
Patrick, who has lost hens in the past to dog attacks, also said that he believed similar thefts had taken place in Heage and Ripley.
“Four call ducks have gone missing from Ripley,” claimed Patrick. “And I think someone in Heage lost their entire stock of poultry in one night.
“I have lost seven hens to dog attacks. The first time, a dog got in and killed six. Three weeks ago another dog got in and killed one more.”