A MOTHER says her youngest children have been left devastated after two owls were let out of a pen in the family's back garden by vandals.

Fran Sillitto said she thought the aviary at the back of their Kidderminster home had been cut open deliberately "in spite".

Her youngest children, Antonio, six, and Laura, seven, had been hit the most by the attack, which could have sent barn owls, Freckles and Knuckles, into the wild.

She said: "The kids are really missing them. Antonio keeps coming back asking 'where are the owls? Have they come back?' and we keep having to say 'no'."

Wire cutters were used to cut through the aviary at the house in Woodbury Road on Saturday or Sunday.

The owls, which were male and female and among the many pets kept by the family of seven, are worth between £200 and £300 each.

Mrs Sillitto, 41, said: "I think they are doing it in spite, really."

She added: "I think it is absolutely disgusting. They are hand-reared pets and they are aviary-bred.

"They wouldn't be able to survive out in the wild. It is very distressing. I feel gutted."

A spokeswoman for Kidderminster police said the owls were light brown and cream in colour and the female, Freckles, had anklets, which looked like leather straps, on her legs. They could have been stolen, she said.

The damage to the aviary was estimated at £70 and happened between 8pm on Saturday and 12.50pm on Sunday.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Kidderminster police on 08457 444888 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.