SASHA, a 17-week-old parrot that has charmed staff and customers at a Radcliffe garden centre, has been stolen.

It is now feared the blue and gold macaw may have died from the stress of being snatched from her cage during a burglary on Wednesday night (Jan 24).

Thieves cut through security fencing and smashed a side window to enter Stephen H Smith's Garden and Leisure store in Radcliffe Moor Road. They grabbed the bird, which is worth more than £1,000, and a lizard.

A large number of feathers were found inside and outside the store after the theft was discovered shortly after 11pm on Wednesday.

Store manager Mr David Yewdall is disgusted with the Sasha's treatment at the hands of the burglars. He said: "Whoever did this didn't have a clue how to handle a parrot. Sasha is now probably either in a very distressed state or dead.

"Macaws do not lose feathers so easily so she must have been treated very roughly."

Since Sasha was bought three weeks ago she has become a firm favourite with staff and customers. She was also learning how to talk and greeted visitors to the store with a cheery "hello".

Mr Yewdall added: "The thieves knew exactly where Sasha was. They must have been in the store earlier in the day to check things out.

"It's going to be hard telling the children that she was stolen."

Anyone with information should contact Whitefield CID on 856 8248.