Most of the birds lost in a break-in were rare Chinese pheasants

A SECOND man has pleaded guilty in a case involving the killing of exotic birds worth thousands of euro at a Dublin aviary.

In 2006, two men broke into the bird sanctuary at Newbridge House in north Dublin where one of them pulled the heads off 12 birds.

One bird that escaped from its cage as a result of the burglary was worth €15,000 .

Mark Boyle (27) of St Cronin's Place, Swords, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to burglary with the intent to ill-treat animals.

Boyle, represented by Hugh O'Donnell solicitors in Swords, had previously pleaded guilty to criminal damage last year. He will be sentenced next month.

In March, his associate Glen Conroy, of Mourne View, Skerries, was handed a three-year jail term for killing the rare birds.

The court heard he had consumed 12 cans of beer and a litre of vodka before going on his rampage. He told gardaí he carried out his actions because he was drunk.

Four rare birds, from a collection started more than 20 years ago, also escaped from their cages during the raid. Newbridge House staff found it impossible to replace all of the animals due to the Avian Flu outbreak and related importation restrictions.

After the completion of the case last week, a spokeswoman for Newbridge House and Farm said it was still in the process of replacement.

"The break-in occurred at the outdoor aviary and the majority of the lost birds were rare Chinese pheasants," she said.

"In addition, a very valuable Conure parrot escaped as a result of the break-in. This bird, valued at €15,000, was not recaptured and would have been unable to survive in the wild."

They have now managed to replace some of the birds and are dependent on the breeding process at the farm to further increase numbers.

"Newbridge Farm has been building this collection since 1986 and these birds and the aviary in general were a key element of the collection. As such they would have been very important to the work of the farm," the spokeswoman said.

"Security in the area was primarily anti-theft measures and no necessarily designed for this particular sort of incident although it has been upgraded since 2006."