Wimbledon's anti-pigeon hawk Rufus missing after being stolen from car
Rufus, a Harris Hawk that patrols Wimbledon to scare off pigeons, has been stolen, police have confirmed.
The much-loved bird was relaxing in the back of a car in Wimbledon with the window wound down for ventilation when he was apparently taken.
The incident occurred between Thursday and Friday on a private drive in Dunstall Road and the owner - Imogen Davis, 25 - said she was still in shock over what had happened.
'It's really, really sad,' she said. 'He was taken in his travelling box, which is where he sleeps because it's nice and dark and cool and he can fall asleep in there.
'We're very, very shocked, we just want to know he's okay.'
A spokesman added Davis and her family had grown close to the animal, which served honourably in his duties as pigeon frightener.
Keeper Wayne Davis with Rufus the Harris Hawk (Picture: PA)
He added: 'The family has become very attached to the bird, who is now four-and-a-half years old.
'They are distressed over the theft and are appealing for help to recover the bird.'
Rufus, who was also a favourite with visitors to the All England Club, has his own Twitter account, which is probably being monitored closely by those waiting to see if he's OK.
The last thing he tweeted a few days ago was in reference to Rafael Nadal's shock exit from Wimbledon and Andy Murray's win.
'He' wrote: 'Murray is through, Rafa is down 2-1 (!), Ward played brilliantly but lost to Mardy Fish, and Italy are beating Germany 1-0!'
(Could a Nadal fan have something to answer for?)
A spokesman for the All England Club added that another bird, said to be one of Rufus' 'pals', called Hector had been drafted in as cover for the missing bird.