EAGLE-eyed Deputy Mayor of Craigavon, Colin McCusker was in quacking form after foiling a duck-napping during a flight to London.
The ‘Culture Duck’ had gone missing from Derry’s Everglades Hotel after a group of pranksters waddled off with it and brought it for a day trip across the Irish Sea.
But there was no need to call the Old Bill as the light-feathered duck-nappers who stole the three foot duck were well and truly caught.
It was spotted by canny Ulster Unionist councillor Colin McCusker at Belfast City Airport boarding an Aer Lingus flight to Gatwick and, thanks to his birdseye vision, the pranksters handed over their feathered friend.
The Culture Duck normally lives on the piano in the foyer of the plush four star Derry hotel and passengers on the plane were more than a little bemused by its presence.
Some were heard to say, ‘Is it a bird, is it a plane - no it’s a duck’.
The bird enjoyed the flight to London but, once Aer Lingus was made aware by our sharp-eyed Deputy Mayor that it had been taken without permission, the Irish airline offered to fly it home free of charge.
Councillor McCusker told the Mail: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this duck boarding the plane.
“It really stood out as an unusual and oversized piece of hand luggage. As soon as I read the article I knew it was the duck that had been on my flight.
“I am over the moon it’s been reunited with the Everglades Hotel,” said the Craigavon Ulster Unionist councillor who is set for his own cultural celebrations this month.
Neil Devlin, General Manager of the Everglades Hotel said: “We were spitting feathers when we realised our Culture Duck had been taken, so you can imagine our delight when we found out that Cllr McCusker had spotted it boarding a flight last week.
“Thankfully, the culprits who we have agreed not to name, were wearing branded shirts which Cllr McCusker was able to recall when he read the story that the duck had been stolen, thus helping us identify his whereabouts,” revealed Mr Devlin.
“We’d like to thank Cllr McCusker for helping reunite us with our Culture Duck and bringing it home to roost,” Neil added.
Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager at Aer Lingus, said: “Aer Lingus is delighted to be able to fly the abducted Everglades Culture Duck from Gatwick back to Belfast City Airport.”