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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 08:17 GMT 09:17 UK
Rare egg returned after 43 years
A rare egg stolen from a Devon museum has been returned - 43 years later.

The little bustard's egg was anonymously returned to Overbeck's Museum, Salcombe, wrapped in bubble wrap in an old cigar tin.

Attached was a letter which said the small grey-brown egg was stolen during a hitch-hiking trip in 1963.

"We do things as kids we would never dream of doing as adults. I was with a friend who stole a guillemot's egg at the same time," wrote the thief.

He said he had not seen his friend in decades, and had no idea if the other egg had survived.

Fashionable pastime

"However, as the little bustard's egg was by far the rarer, I am sure you'll be pleased to have it returned," added the writer. He said the egg had only come to light following the death of one of his parents.

Museum house manager Sarah Freeman said they were pleased to see the return of the egg to their small collection of UK birds' eggs.

She added they were now opposed to the collecting of such eggs, a pastime fashionable in Victorian-Edwardian times.

The National Trust-run museum also houses collections of model boats, toys, photographs and shells and it was founded by scientist Otto Overbeck, who died in 1937.

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