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Villagers suspect fowl play after peacock vanishes in the dead of night

A peacock like Pat Credit: PA

He may have been a "noisy blighter" but Pat the peacock was loved by all in the quiet village of Thimbleby.

Or perhaps - almost everyone.

After gunshots were heard in the dead of night, Pat has gone missing, and there are claims it could be fowl play.

The bird has not been seen since last month - though a clump of his feathers was found in the tree where he had made his roost.

Now residents in the normally peaceful North Yorkshire village of Thimbleby are playing whodunnit amid claims that he could have been deliberately killed by someone who had enough of his 4am screeching sessions.

One resident said the case was "the North Yorkshire version of Cecil the lion" as fingers are pointed over who might be responsible.

“He turned up mysteriously in the first place, no one seems to know how he just arrived," said another villager.

“I don't think there's that much doubt about how he came to leave."

There is no doubt that shots were fired that night and he hasn't been seen since.

Yes, he could be noisy and screechy but that doesn't justify bumping him off. No one had the right to do that.

– Thimbleby resident
Credit: PA

So far investigations have been hampered by the lack of a body to confirm that Pat was indeed killed and to confirm the cause of death.

However, one woman claims she saw a couple shining a light into his tree shortly before he was allegedly shot.

A spokesman for spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said they had been contacted over concerns that a peacock had been shot but were not actively investigating and no arrests had been made.

Peacocks are not covered by any protective laws and it is not an offence to shoot them.