SIX people, including two children, have been charged over a spate of racing pigeon robberies in the Alicante and Valencia areas.

Stolen birds worth €50,000 have so far been recovered.

The situation got so serious earlier this year that the Guardia Civil launched Operation Columbidae, named after the bird family that includes doves and pigeons.

A clandestine outdoor pigeon loft containing 38 stolen birds was discovered in Alcoy, next to the River Serpis.

The birds were taken from Algueña, Gaines, and Ibi in Alicante Province as well as Benissoda in Valencia Province.

The caged pigeons were kept in what the Guardia described as ‘deplorable’ conditions.

Bad Conditions

Two minors, one of them aged 14 years, have been charged with robbery.

Two other children wanted in connection with the pilfering have still to be found.

Another case of pigeon rustling was investigated in Sax with four robberies.

Officers identified an illegally-occupied finca in Petrer as housing the birds and got the help of one of the bird owners to trap the thieves.

She used one of her pigeons to fly to the building with the bird attracting the attention of the rest of the stolen flock.

That was the cue for the Guardia Civil to move in and collar a couple over the thefts.

The final set of arrests came in Rojales with two women detained for stealing pigeons.

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