Police said a hawk being used to patrol skies and deter pigeons from the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships has been stolen.

London police said on Saturday that Rufus, the Harrier hawk, was stolen with its cage between Thursday night and Friday morning from a car parked on a private driveway in the south-eastern suburb of Wimbledon.

The company that owns the hawk had left a rear window of the car open for ventilation, police said.

The hawk, a family pet, flies above the tennis lawns every day, scaring away smaller birds such as pigeons that could distract the players and bother the audience.

Keywords: Wimbledon

More In: Tennis | Sport