Smash and grab poultry thieves are being hunted after Christmas turkeys and chickens worth thousands were stolen from a renowned Leeds butchers.
The gang struck at a van belonging to a butcher's shop parked outside the firm's premises in Pudsey just four days before Christmas – the busiest period of the year for the store.
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While staff were occupied in the rear of the premises of Bentley's Butchers, who also specialise in game meats, in Robin Lane, Pudsey, on the evening of Tuesday December 21, the gang attacked the company's long wheelbase Sprinter van which was parked outside the shop.
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The raiders forced open the rear doors of the van and got clean away with a large number of turkeys and chickens before the proprietor and his staff discovered the vehicle had been broken into and cleared out of stock.
Fortunately the company was able to replace the stolen poultry and replenish its stocks so that none of its customers were let down, said one member of staff.
He said: "All the staff were busy working in the back of the shop when they got into the van. It was completely cleared out of all the stock.
"We managed to replace the stock so no one was let down for their Christmas Day.
"All I can say is I hope the birds choke whoever stole them," he added.
Bentley have secured numerous awards for their pork pies and sausages, including some in the Great Yorkshire Pork Pie, Sausage and Products competition and others from The Pork Pie Appreciation Society awards.