Stolen Wimbledon Hawk Is Found

Pigeon deterrent for tennis championships is back home

Rufus, the Harrier hawk used to deter pigeons from the All England Tennis Club, has been reunited with his owners after being stolen from a car.

Rufus, was stolen together with its cage overnight between 28 and 29 June from a car parked in Dunstall Road, Wimbledon.

The bird was in a car which was parked on a private drive with the rear window open for ventilation.

The working bird of prey deters pigeons purely by its presence. Hawking was first introduced to the All England Club in 1999 as an environmentally-friendly method of pest control.

Rufus (pictured left on his Wimbledon perch) is flown each morning and evening of the tennis championships before and after play, but not during, to avoid any distraction.

Rufus, aged four and a half, is also a family pet and the family were very distressed over his theft.

But police confirmed on Sunday night that he was handed into the RSPCA in Putney and then returned home safely.

His owner Imogen Davis, aged 25, said: "We have Rufus back, safe and well. We are ecstatic and so, so overwhelmed with all the lovely messages and help we have received."

July 2, 2012

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