Barney the Barn Owl is back home safe at Sunderland farm

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A stolen bird who was stuffed into a bag is now back home and having a hoot thanks to an Echo reader.

Barney the Barn Owl was cruelly snatched from his cage at Sunderland Training and Education Farm in South Hylton and stuffed into a bag by two men on Saturday morning.

Farm worker Gareth Henry reunited with Barney the Barn Owl

Farm worker Gareth Henry reunited with Barney the Barn Owl

Manager Jeanette Chapman believed the one–year–old had been stolen to order and urged people to keep their eyes peeled.

However, on Wednesday afternoon Stuart Taylor of Castletown spotted Barney in his back garden and managed to safely recapture him.

Ms Chapman said: “I think Barney was basically too hot for the thieves to handle, they wouldn’t have been able to sell him on due to the publicity he received in the Echo so they’ve let him go.

“We’re very grateful to Stuart for capturing Braney. He’s now back in his cage and he’s doing fine. He’s a little bit grumpy and he was rather hungry, but we’re sure he’ll cheer up again soon.”

Barney was just too hot to handle for the thieves.

Jeanette Chapman, farm manger

Mr Taylow 44, an inspector for the gas an oil industry, was taken aback when he spotted Barney sitting in a tree in his garden.

After watching it for more than an hour, he decided to put on a glove and try and coax him down.

He said: “I pulled on a glove I use to cut the hedges and held out my arm to him. He started shuffling along the branch, getting closer and closer, and then he swooped down and landed on my arm.

“He had tassels tied to his feet so I got hold of them with the my hand and took him inside the house.

“Sadly our dog died a fortnight ago, but we still had its cage and so I put the owl in there until the people from the farm could come and collect him.”