£17,000 payout for chicken worker sacked in row over bird feed

David Hills.

David Hills.

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A FORMER chicken farmer has been awarded a £17,000 payout after he was wrongfully sacked over a row about bird feed.

David Hills had spent eight years caring for 16,000 free range chickens at Whangdon Farm, in Elwick village, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, before he was sacked by owner Leo Gillen after food for the birds ran out.

The 46-year-old said it was his job to collect and box thousands of eggs every day, and to inform bosses when the food was running low so they could order more stock.

He claims he told Mr Gillen’s son, also called Leo, that stocks were low but the message was not passed on.

That led to the food running out, and the chickens missing out on two feeds.

Devastated Mr Hills claims he was sent a text message telling him that he was suspended until further notice, before then being sacked four weeks later.