Dozens of birds were killed in an arson attack at a Sunderland home last night.
Firebugs set light to aviaries at the rear of the home Lousia Davies and Thomas Allan share in Guildford Road, Hendon, shortly befoe 9pm.
“We were out for tea and we got a phone call to say our property was on fire,” said Louisa.
“Someone has set fire to the back of the house and the aviaries with all the birds in.”
The couple, both 29, are offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.
“We need to know who could have done this,” said Louisa.
“All the birds are dead – we had around 100, of all different kinds.
“Thomas rescues birds, too, so there was a broad range of parrots, cockatiels, finches and diamond doves.”
The fire could have been much more serious, said Louisa.
“We are just glad this happened at the time it did,” she said.
“It is the only good thing about it. If it had happened during the night, then the people who noticed the fire would not have seen it.”
Police have appealed for help in tracking down those responsible for the blaze.
A spokeswoman confirmed the fire, which started around 9.10pm, was believed to have been started deliberately and was being treated as arson. Officers are carrying out enquiries in the area and appealing for any witnesses to come forward.
Superintendent Ged Noble said: “Understandably the owners of the birds are extremely upset about this incident and it is important we find out what happened.
“We believe this fire was started deliberately and are working closely with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service fire to establish the circumstances.
“Officers are carrying out enquiries to identify whoever is responsible and we’re asking the public to help us.
“If anyone has any information that could help with our enquiries we’d ask them to come forward and speak to us.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 1136 261015 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.