Animals killed and stolen in sickening break-ins on Hartlepool allotment sites

Allotment holders have spoken of their distress after trespassers stole and killed animals at two Hartlepool sites.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 4:55 am

Police are appealing for information after intruders caused damage and stole a rabbit belonging to 13-year-old John Hays from his mam’s plot on Burn Valley allotments at the weekend.

And gardener Dave Pounder was left sickened after trespassers broke into his plot at Chester Road in the early hours last week and bludgeoned one of the rabbits he breeds to death with a meat cleaver.

He also caught the intruders on CCTV attacking his birds killing three chickens and a goose and injuring the wings of four other geese.

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John Hayes, 13, with one of his rabbits. Picture by FRANK REID
John Hayes, 13, with one of his rabbits. Picture by FRANK REID

Dave, who has had an allotment on the site for 40 years, said: “It’s not an isolated incident, it’s a regular occurrence where people break in.

“Last year I lost 28 rabbits stolen over the year.

"Losing them to theft is bad enough but when you see a graphic video bludgeoning to death one of the rabbits that you breed, that’s sickening.”

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A Cleveland Police spokesperson confirmed: "Police received a report of animals killed at an allotment site on Chester Road, Hartlepool, on Wednesday 30th June.

"Officers would appeal to anyone who may have information to contact them on 101, quoting incident number 110580."

Teenager John discovered one of his rabbits was missing from the Burn Valley plot on Saturday.

It is believed intruders broke in over night on Friday, July 2. They also damaged a hutch and broke several locks off a pigeon loft.

John Hayes aged 13 at one of his empty rabbit cages on Burn Valley allotments. Picture by FRANK REID

John, who attends High Tunstall College of Science, said: “They’re lovely little rabbits. I’ve been keeping them for about two years.

"When I found out what had happened I felt really sad.”

Other plot holders at the Burn Valley site are also reported to have suffered thefts and damage in the same period.

John said his family’s plot was broken into again on Sunday, July 4, and at least one more of his rabbits is missing believed stolen.

Police have urged any witnesses or anyone with information or CCTV or dash cam footage which could help identify those responsible for the Burn Valley break-ins to call them on the 101 number quoting incident number 109484.

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