DOZENS of chickens were killed in a Hartlepool allotment fire which is being treated as suspicious, according to police.
It happened just after 3am at Thornhill Gardens, near Sacred Heart Primary School, with the cause now under investigation.
The fire spread across the allotment site, causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage and killing 45 chickens which were in a shed.
Two crews from Hartlepool Stranton station rushed to the scene, with eight officers spending 90 minutes putting out the blaze.
Crew manager Barry Stainsby said: “It’s difficult to say how many sheds have been lost because people sometimes build onto sheds.
“The fire had flattened a lot of the sheds when we got there, like a bonfire.
“The cause of the fire is under investigation.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “Police are appealing for information after an allotment was set on fire at Thornhill Gardens in Hartlepool.
“The incident happened at around 3.15am this morning, Friday 15th May, when a fire spread across three allotments, causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage and killing 45 chickens which were in a chicken shed inside one of the allotments.
“The fire is being treated as suspicious and officers have launched an investigation.
Anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area around the time of the fire or anyone who may have information regarding the incident is asked to contact PC Claire Elliot on the non-emergency 101 number, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.