A STOLEN bird of prey was tortured with a lighter by the sick thug who took her.
Barry Shaw was delighted to get his valuable pair of Harris Hawks back following an appeal on Facebook.
But the 22-year-old was horrified to discover that one of the birds had had feathers burned, broken and pulled out.
The birds – worth £700 – were stolen on Friday from Mr Shaw’s aviary in Loanhead,Midlothian.
Mr Shaw used his Facebook page to appeal for information about the birds, Jess and Luckie.
On Saturday morning, he received an anonymous call from someone claiming to be the thief, telling him he’d never see the birds again.
Two hours later he received a Facebook message telling him he could find the birds behind a disused Chinese takeaway in Edinburgh.
Despite being worried the message was a prank, Mr Shaw made his way to the former restaurant, in the Burdiehouse area of the city, and was delighted to find the pair in a cat carrier.
Mr Shaw then realised the birds had been ill-treated by the thief.
He said: “Jess has been burned with a lighter. Some of her feathers have been snapped off and all her tail’s knackered and she’s underweight.
“I think Luckie’s got a tail feather missing but other than that she seems fine.
“The person mailed me saying they has seen the story in the paper and their friends and family had the birds.
“The person said they thought they were in the wrong hands and had put them behind the old Chinese restaurant in Burdiehouse in a cat box.
“I went straight over and they were sitting there at the back of the restaurant.
“I thought it was just going to be a wind-up but I knew if I didn’t go I would be thinking I should have gone all night.”