A THIEF broke into the home of the county’s “Doctor Doolittle” and stole three weaning birds.

Roger Musselle, 75, who runs a wildlife centre from his home in Woodingdean, said the three baby Gold Finches have 24 hours left to live without his care.

He said: “They’re some of the most difficult birds to rear, now some idiot has nicked them.

“We’ve never had a problem with anything like this.

“We want them returned before they die.”

The birds, which are about three inches long, were stolen along with their cage at about 12.30pm.

The theft happened while Roger was visiting the tip.

He said: “If I don’t get them back in the next 24 hours the chances of them surviving are pretty small.

“If they haven’t already died, for goodness sake bring them back.

“And don’t let me see you as I’m rather annoyed.”

The three-and-a-half week old birds have to be syringe-fed to survive.

If you see them, please contact 01273 308268.

Roger helps more than 1,500 animals annually from his Woodingdean home and he has not had a holiday since 1964.

He is assisted by his wife Fleur and an army of volunteers.

He tends to injured gulls, rears hedgehogs through hibernation, and gives advice over the phone.