Delight as stolen cages recovered after break-in at the Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital, near Kibworth
Volunteers at a wildlife hospital are celebrating the return of stolen animal cages worth thousands of pounds.
The stainless steel and aluminium enclosures were stolen in a break-in at the Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital, near Kibworth, in the summer.
During the raid, some of the ailing birds and hedgehogs kept in the cages were thrown out and killed.
The burglary left the hospital desperately trying to raise money to replace the cages.
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Now, most of the cages are back where they belong after being discovered by police in Northamptonshire.
Hospital founder Angie Downham said she was delighted the cages had been found. We want to thank the police and all those involved in finding them," she said.
"They are worth up to £16,000.
"The recovery is a real boost for us financially as we can now concentrate on raising funds to maintain the hospital rather than replace so many cages."
A total of 28 cages were stolen in the raid and police have recovered 17. Twelve are specifically to care for hedgehogs, the other five for larger animals.
The hospital, which moved to bigger premises two years ago, cares for about 2,000 animals a year, with the help of a team of volunteers.
Mrs Downham said: "We understand the cages were being used to house poultry. Police raided premises on Friday and officers recognised our cages.
"They had been damaged and were filthy when they were returned on Friday and Saturday.
"Our volunteers have worked tirelessly over the weekend to clean them and some are being used to house hedgehogs already.
"Some have been badly damaged and bits are missing and need to be repaired. It looks as if those who stole them did not know how to operate the sliding doors properly."
Northamptonshire Police executed a warrant on a premises on Friday. The rest of the cages, which were used to house injured birds, are still missing.
Police said inquiries were ongoing.
Pc Claire Salmon, of Northamptonshire Police, said: "During the execution of a warrant in Northampton on Friday, November 23, officers discovered a number of cages.
"We suspected they were the property of the wildlife hospital in Kibworth following a burglary there. This was confirmed and the cages were returned to their rightful owners."
People who want to donate to the hospital can visit its website at: