IF you’re thinking about undertaking a spot of duck-napping, think again.
A Warrnambool couple received a police visit and warning yesterday after they were allegedly seen capturing a very friendly duck, dubbed Daffy, from the breakwater area.
While the sociable shelduck was back at its usual haunt yesterday morning, two eyewitnesses told The Standard a man and a woman were seen grabbing the duck and putting it in their car on Monday.
The duck has become something of an icon in the area around the Harbour Pavilion and breakwater.
The Standard published two stories about Daffy in the past week, revealing his habit of going rowing with Warrnambool horse trainer Tammy Good each morning and his having been handraised by Warrnambool woman Erin Hurley.
But his affable attitude almost became his undoing on Monday, according to the witnesses who contacted The Standard yesterday.
The two friends claimed they saw a “real tall, feral-looking” man and a “real short ... ratty looking” woman grab the duck, put it in their car and drive off on Monday about 1pm.
“We were watching the duck previously and then there was a fair bit of commotion and you could hear quacking and what not,” claimed one of the men, who chose not to be identified.
“We heard the duck carrying on and then I looked over and (a man) had it. He was holding it ... (then) they were driving off with it,” claimed the other man.
The two men said they then followed the ducknappers in a car for about 2.5 kilometres before giving up.
They took down the car’s licence plate number which The Standard passed on to police yesterday.
Officers later went to a Warrnambool residence and spoke to a man and a woman who made no admissions but received a warning that stealing a wild duck is a crime under the Wildlife Act.
“To do that you need a permit and a licence,” Leading Senior Constable Steve Parkinson said.
At some point on Monday the duck was returned to the breakwater area, either by its own wings or through a guilty conscience.
“We made (the two people) aware that if they did take the duck, and we believe they did, that they could be charged,” Leading Senior Constable Parkinson said.
But the policeman said that since the duck had been returned, a warning would suffice.
Meanwhile, Daffy joined Ms Good for her regular morning row yesterday. “She swam with me and she seemed unharmed and seemed quite normal,”