Dad causes £1000 damage to rescue trapped pigeon

Scot Tomson hammered a hole in the wall to free the bird. Picture: Toby Williams
Scot Tomson hammered a hole in the wall to free the bird. Picture: Toby Williams
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She is the fictional damsel in distress from Wacky Races who always seems to get out of a trouble at the last minute.

Now meet her real-life namesake, Penelope Pitstop, the wood pigeon, who faced almost certain death when she became trapped in a tight spot of her own.

I don’t care if it costs £1000 or £10,000, that bird is a British citizen and it needed my help


Animal-lover Scot Thomson, of Blackhall, came to the rescue, smashing through the blocked up chimney to free the bird when the Scottish SPCA revealed it was powerless to help.

The 53-year-old estimated that he caused about £1000 worth of damage to his daughter’s wall when he used a mash hammer to punch a hole through which it could escape.

The builder said he couldn’t simply leave the bird to die and believes the SSPCA could have done more.

He said: “The SSPCA said ‘just leave it’ but they are supposed to be the people who help animals in distress.

“My daughter has just spent thousands of pounds doing up the house but I had to free it because I love animals. I couldn’t have my daughter upset at night and I couldn’t leave the bird to die.

“I don’t care if it costs £1000 or £10,000, that bird is a British citizen and it needed my help.”

Scot named the bird after the popular cartoon character because she had a “wacky adventure” that ended with a “pit stop” in a chimney.

He worked out where to make the hole by putting his ear to the wall and estimated that it took him about ten minutes to break through.

The neighbours, roused by the hammering, popped over to clear the rubble and lend a helping hand.

For several days, Scot’s daughter had heard the bird scratching around frantically and hoped it would escape of its own accord.

When she called the SSPCA, she claims she was told they weren’t insured to come into her property or to go down the chimney.

And she only contacted her dad when she realised that this was the only way to save Penelope.

The bird appeared moments after the wall was breached, sporting a few ruffled feathers but otherwise none the worse for her ordeal.

Scot then lifted the bird out through the hole and left it outside until it flew away.

A Scottish SPCA spokeswoman said: “As wood pigeons will often sit on top of chimneys they can fall down, for example if there is a gust of wind.

“If a fireplace is completely blocked up we would advise the homeowner that they need to provide access and sometimes this means arranging for a wall to be knocked through. Unfortunately, we don’t have the tools or expertise to do this.

“If there is a gas fire they would also have to arrange for a registered gas fitter to attend and disconnect it before we could deal with the trapped bird. Other times it may be possible to help the bird on its way using a chimney sweep.”

She added: “We are pleased to hear that in this instance the wood pigeon was able to be freed unharmed.”

The family hope to be able to claim the money back for the repairs to the wall on their insurance.