By MARTIN GRAHAM
HEARTLESS thieves have left a Scottish family ?devastated? after eight rare ducks were swiped from a pen in their garden.
The four breeding pairs of Khaki Campbell ducks were looked after by 13 year-old Stewart Thornley, who raised them from eggs.
Police fear the fowl were stolen to order and are calling on the nest-raiders to hand them back.
Duck detectives believe the eight Khaki Campbells were specifically targeted as there were other birds in the pen left untouched.
Stewart?’s mother Lavinia said the pets, worth £50 each, had become part of life at the family’?s smallholding in Bilston, Midlothian.
She told how her son, who was too upset to speak, incubated the ducks and hatched them himself.
She said: ?”We bought the eggs from different parts of England so that we could eventually raise more ducklings.
“We got them in January and after they hatched we had to use heat lamps to keep them warm.
“My son Stewart is 13 and he is very fond of the animals, he?s got 40 chickens and 35 ducks.
“?He is devastated by the loss of the ducks.?
The ducks were very much part of the family and had even been given suitable names ? Charlie Drake, Donald, Daisy, Jemima, Sarah, Tenor, Arthur and Rocky.
When they first arrived, the eggs took 28 days to incubate and hatch.
Lavinia, 39, who runs a pet care business called Top 2 Tail, moved to the smallholding last October because she needed more space.
A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “We suspect that these ducks have been stolen for sale, and we are appealing for any information that can help reunite them with their owner.
“Anyone who has been offered the ducks for sale, or who has any information that can help lead to their recovery, should get in touch immediately.”
The breed was specially developed for their high level of egg production, laying an average of 300 eggs per year.