Police carrying out a routine control on the A16 near Moerdijk on Monday morning arrested three people on suspicion of stealing 26 valuable racing pigeons.
A 47-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman from Ukraine without a known address in the Netherlands, and a 32-year-old man from Rotterdam, could not give a plausible explanation for the presence of the pigeons, which they said were from Poland.
A subsequent check of the ringed animals showed them to be the property of a Belgian man who had been unaware until then his pigeons were missing.
Police think the stolen pigeons were on their way to Ukraine to be sold. Racing pigeons can fetch extremely high prices. In 2019 a Belgian owner sold one of his pigeons for €1.5m while the year before a pigeon changed hands for €2.7m in China.
It is not known how much the stolen pigeons were worth.
Police said that the modus operandi of the three pointed to ‘mobile banditism’ a term used for travelling gangs committing opportunistic crimes, such as robbing trucks, burglary, credit card fraud, pickpocketing, and petrol theft.
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