The dwindling sport of racing pigeons has received a welcome financial boost from China where birds race for up to £1million in prize money.
Fanciers from the Far East are prepared to pay thousands of pounds for British racing birds as rising numbers of affluent Chinese take up the hobby.
The growing interest in the sport in China is in stark contrast to the UK where the hobby is in sharp decline.
But with more than 300,000 fanciers in China demand for winning British birds is high.
The record prize for a British bird was reached by Champion Treble Six, nicknamed the Banker because of its winning record, to a Chinese buyer for breeding for £16,000 in 2011.
This year a bird named Bolt, after Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, was sold to a Chinese businessman for £260,000, by a Belgian fancier.
While gambling is illegal pigeon races in China attract large bets and prizes totalling £3million. In some races the winning bird earns his owner £1million.
Pigeon racing in China can be traced back to the Ming dynasty of the 14th century.