The devastated owner of a kidnapped pet parrot has released the sinister ransom note found in its cage - threatening to kill the bird if she called the police.
Joe Joe the African grey disappeared a month ago when a raider struck as Cara Cosson was out at work.
They kicked in the back door of her three-bedroom home in Oakley and grabbed the £600 bird - and took nothing else.
They left a menacing note made out of letters cut from magazines saying: “Want your bird back alive text [phone number]. Contact police bird dies a slow agonizing death!!”
Cara, 45, ignored the threat and called in police who arrested a man in his 40s before releasing him on bail.
But Joe Joe is still missing and Cara fears she will never see her treasured pet again.
She has now made the ransom note public in a bid to highlight her case and says fellow animal-lovers have offered to hire a private investigator to track down the bird.
She suspects Joe Joe is being held in Rushden or Kettering in Northamptonshire and is offering a £1,500 reward for his safe return.
Cara, a contracts officer, said: “Everybody in the bird world knows about it and there has been no sign of a bird like Joe Joe being sold.
“I think the person who stole him still has him. This is not a conventional bird theft.
“I released the letter because I thought if people saw the circumstances they would realise just how serious this is.
“It is getting harder as time goes on. It is things like going home and him not saying anything. The house is so quiet without him.
“I am even considering moving house now because of the memories that I have of the theft but I am never going to give up on Joe Joe.”
Cara has had a pet bird since she was a little girl and is well known locally as a parrot breeder.
She has owned Joe Joe, now aged 16, since he was 14-weeks-old and says he loves reggae and Motown music.
He dances along to music and his favourite songs are The Whisper’s hit Needle in a Haystack and Heatwave by Martha and the Vandellas.
Cara says he also whistles the tune of Summertime by Nina Simone, meows like a cat and loves nothing more than a cup of Earl Grey tea.
She has even consulted a clairvoyant who predicted that her the bird could be returned to her by May.
Cara added: “Joe Joe is not a pet, he is family. He is a real character and everyone who had met him loves him.
“It feels to me that my child has been kidnapped, to want of a better word. People will think it is just a bird but he’s not.”
The burglary took place on the morning of February 20 and Cara believes she knows who is responsible for the theft as nothing else was touched in the robbery.
Bedfordshire Police said a man in his 40s was arrested in relation to the theft and bailed.
A spokeswoman added: “Unfortunately at this stage the parrot has not been recovered and the police investigation is continuing.”
The African Grey is regarded as one of the most intelligent animals in the world, on par with dolphins and chimpanzees and can live until they are 70 years old.
They can develop human emotions and bored African Greys can literally become sick as distress causes them to pluck out their own feathers.