Racing pigeons stolen from lofts in West Dunbartonshire

By Democrat reporter

Pigeon fanciers are on the alert after racing pigeons were released or stolen in three separate incidents across Dumbarton and the Vale in recent weeks

Local police are appealing for the public’s help after a spate of racing pigeon thefts across Dumbarton and the Vale.

In the first incident, ten prize Belgian pigeons were stolen from a loft in Hawthorn Way, Castlehill, Dumbarton, overnight on June 10-11.

Three nights later, on June 13-14, around 30kg of pigeon feed was stolen from a loft in  Millburn Crescent, Silverton, Dumbarton..

A second loft was damaged and a further 20 pigeons released or stolen.

In the third incident, a further eight racing pigeons were stolen from a loft in Alexander Street, Alexandria, overnight on June 15-16.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Pigeon racing is a sport which is enjoyed around the world and there is a lot of time spent training and rearing the pigeons as well as value attached to the pigeons themselves.

“We are appealing for the help of the public to help trace and reunite these racing pigeons with their owners.

“We are asking anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious at any of the locations where thefts have occurred, or who have any information that could assist with the investigation, to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 3602 of 16/06.”

Alternatively information can be given anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where anonymity can be maintained.

Racing pigeons has been a top sport for local fanciers who have kept birds in lofts across Town and Vale for more than a century.

Jim Crosthwaite, a keen local historian and photographer who spends a great deal of time in Dumbarton Library found this interesting cutting from the magazine of Babcock and Wilcox in Glasgow Road, Dumbarton:

pigeon fancier

David Crawford, a well kent local pigeon fancier, pictured at his loft in Dumbarton.

By a Democrat reporter
Pigeon fancying was a popular sports amongst coal miners in places such as Ayrshire and Fife.
One fancier, “earned another feather in his cap”, scooping the coveted bird of the year title for the fifth time.

Breeder John Bell, 51, from Catrine in Ayrshire, was delighted to see his prize doo beat more than 2500 rivals to the trophy at the British Homing World Show in Blackpool in  2017.

John said of his bird: ” “He’s the top dog in the loft.  He has bred some winners, as well as being the Scottish champion. We’ve won that competition four years in a row.”

He and wife Alice spend up to seven hours a day tending to their birds. and they spend most weekends travelling to shows all over the UK.

John said: “I used to race pigeons but all the races are in the summer months and it was interfering with family holidays.

“I was also fed-up losing pigeons as they don’t always come back, so I went into show pigeons. It’s more sociable and is something you can do with the family. We all get great pleasure from it.”

Linda Bruce, secretary of the Scottish Homing Union, said the number of members in Scotland had fallen by half to 6500 in the last 30 years.

She said: “It’s a really absorbing sport but it’s time-consuming as you have to look after the birds seven days a week. Members take the sport very seriously and there’s a lot of competitiveness.”

John Bell shows off his Supreme Champion pigeon at the British Homing World Show of the Year at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool (Image: London News Pictures)

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