Animals left dead and dying after raid on Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital in Kibworth
Thieves have raided an animal hospital, stealing thousands of pounds worth of metal cages and leaving birds and hedgehogs dead and dying.
Two blackbirds and six hedgehogs died after the raiders broke into the Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital in Kibworth.
They stole 26 stainless steel and aluminum cages, worth about £30,000, after turfing the sick animals out of them.
Some animals receiving care, including wood pigeons, collared doves and blackbirds, escaped through the front door, which was wedged open.
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Others, including an injured swan, were left wandering around the building.
Hospital volunteer Julia Simonson told how she turned up at the hospital at 8.45am on Friday to a scene of devastation and destruction.
Julia said: "I saw sick animals either dead or dying on the floor. The people who did this ripped the cages off the walls and threw the animals out.
"It was heartbreaking to see all the animals I and other volunteers care for and nurture just lying there cowering or wandering about distressed."
Julia said the thieves had ransacked all six rooms at the hospital and left the site in disarray.
She said: "What kind of people can do this to a collection of sick animals? They must be sick themselves.
"Usually when I arrive at the hospital the animals recognise my car and my voice and all clamour to be fed. When I arrived last Friday it was eerily quiet."
Hospital founder Angela Downham said it looked like the thieves had used a van to rip the front gate off its posts to gain access to the site.
Angela, 46, said: "The alarm system tells us that they got in through a window and attacked the main system at 10.02pm on Thursday.
"They forced the front door and wedged it open, which is how lots of our sick animals have wandered out or flown off.
Angela, who lives in Kibworth and is a cook at a retirement home, founded the charity 24 years ago and opened the hospital 18 months ago after raising £500,000.
They receive animals from vets and members of the public.
She said: "We had only half-built the hospital as we had run out of money. It is shame as the full site would include a flat, which would provide a 24-hour security presence.
"This is very distressing and a real setback for us, but it will not stop us. We will have to close the place to new admissions and just look after the animals we have."
A police spokesman said: "We are aware of the incident and appeal to anyone who has information to give us a call.
"They should dial 101 and ask for Pc Chris Hill."
Anyone who can help the hospital should call Angela on 07951 285 366.