Brockswood Animal Sanctuary struggles over thefts

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image copyrightBrockswood Animal Sanctuary
image captionRose and Florence were among the animals stolen in the theft

An animal sanctuary has said the theft of some of its animals at a time when it is struggling financially has just made things worse.

Neil Swann, of not-for-profit Brockswood Animal Sanctuary in Sedgley, Dudley, said due to the coronvirus outbreak money is already tight.

Sheep and turkeys were discovered missing on Tuesday.

The sanctuary is home to 218 animals, including emus and birds of prey, that could not find homes elsewhere.

A Facebook post about the theft has been shared over 5,000 times, with Mr Swann, 56, saying the missing animals, all of which have names, are family.

"We thought initially someone had let them out, but we searched the site, and once we realised they hadn't got out, we called the police," he said.

Mr Swann said he is living on site along with a few other staff members to ensure someone is there to look after the animals while the sanctuary is closed.

image copyrightBrockswood Animal Sanctuary
image captionTrevor is a slate grey turkey who has been at the sanctuary for over a decade
image copyrightBrockswood Animal Sanctuary
image captionMinnie was also taken in the theft

"You're still buying the same amount of animal stock, paying vet fees... we've been running at virtually full cost, but it's very difficult, you can't drop costs of animal feed, if anything it's going up.

"When we do reopen, we'll have to recruit volunteers to help us with hand hygiene and manage social distancing.

"This robbery has been absolutely gutting really, for people to do that."

He said the security he will now need "should be unwarranted for an animal sanctuary".

image copyrightBrockswood Animal Sanctuary
image captionMr Swann said Clarissa, also taken, was a "beautiful, very old lady"

"We'd normally raise our money in the summer to get us through winter."

But he said the community has been "phenomenal" in donating money and animal food.

West Midlands Police said investigations are ongoing and anyone with information can contact them.

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