Bristol: Budgie smugglers traumatize children after attacking school

A child side by side with a budgerigar on its head and an aviary.

Thieves broke into the school in a north Bristol suburb to steal the 20 budgies (Image: SWNS)

Children have been left “in tears” after cruel thieves broke into their north Bristol school and stole their 20 budgies.

For years, pupils and teachers at Brentry Primary School have come to the school to the bright trills, songs and warbles of budgerigars living in an outdoor aviary.

But smugglers snuck into the school grounds around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday and stole the birds in three nesting boxes, CCTV showed.

Yesterday morning the school caretaker was shocked to see the now silent and empty cage.


The news left students and staff alike “heartbroken” (Image: Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

The thieves probably couldn’t put all the birds in the crates, meaning some may have flown away into the frosty night, school principal Hannah Jack said.

Now the school is appealing to local residents to come forward if they know anything about the theft or if they’ve seen people suddenly selling budgies.

Hannah said: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking. We are all devastated, we had tears in the teachers, children in tears.

“They really are part of the family, everyone loves them and it’s so terrible that they were taken like that. Why would anyone do that?’

The school took in two budgies for the first time seven years ago, and a third bird was accidentally rescued from a drain on the school grounds.

A specially made aviary was made for the dainty parakeets in 2018 as part of a school renovation.


The school built an aviary for the budgies (Image: Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

For a typical budgie, the aviary was a five-star resort, with heated areas and plenty of room to fly around.

Soon more of the brightly feathered birds were being donated to the school and some were having babies.

“The sixth graders are responsible for them, and that’s a big deal,” said Hannah, who is also the chair of the PTA.

“You have to feed and water them, clean the aviary and take care of them. The caretaker takes care of them on the weekends. They are very popular and it was nice that they were able to reproduce.’

“It’s just so awful that someone would do that,” she added.

“They climbed into the play area by reception and then got around the aviary, threw the latch and got in.

“It’s just so sad.”


A school official fears any escaped birds will die outside in the cold (Image: Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

Hannah doubts if her children will ever be reunited with their pets.

“We have no hope of getting them back,” Hannad added, “but someone needs to know something about where they are now.”

Budgerigars, also known as budgerigars, are native to the warm and dry plains of the Australian outback.

With their small bodies built to withstand hotter temperatures, budgies struggle below 15°C as the risk of hypothermia increases.

Amid a nationwide cold snap, mercury in Bristol has been in the low single digits for days – hitting a high of just 4C today.

“Those who may have flown away will not survive. It’s too cold and they’re being attacked too,” Hannah added.

Avon and Somerset Police are collecting dashcams and CCTV from people who may have filmed the incident.

“Police are appealing for witnesses and information after thieves stole around 15 budgies from an aviary at Brentry Primary School at around 11.30pm last night, Wednesday 8 March,” a spokesman said.

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Justin Scaccy

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