Arsonists spark blaze which kills 45 chickens on Hartlepool allotment

ARSON ATTACK: The burnt-out sheds at the Thonrhill Gardens allotments.
ARSON ATTACK: The burnt-out sheds at the Thonrhill Gardens allotments.

AN allotment holder has been left devastated after a suspicious fire started in another plot spread to his shed and killed his 45 chickens.

Kevin Kitching found the charred remains of his egg-laying birds and their coop when he went to his garden at the Thornhill Gardens allotments in Hartlepool.

I’ve had vandalism in the past, but nothing like this. It makes you feel like packing it all in, it really does.

Kevin Kitching, allotment holder

Mindless arsonists are suspected to have had started a fire in an allotment at the back right of his, which then spread to sheds in a plot behind his.

The direction of the wind saw the flames take hold of his sheds as well, which contained 45 chickens which he has owned for about four months.

The 56-year-old told the Mail he was devastated, and does not know whether he can face buying any more birds in case the same thing happens again.

Kevin, from the Throston area of town, said: “I got to my allotment about 9am and one of the lads pulled me up and said that the allotment out the back of mine had been burnt out.

“I came in and this is what I found.

“I was gutted. I’m going through a lot personally and I could be done without all of this as well.

“I’ve kept chickens for about six years, but these were new stock and I’d had them about four months. I can’t believe it really.

“I used to come down and feed them every day, but I don’t know whether I’ll get any more.

“I’ve had vandalism in the past but nothing like this.

“It makes you feel like packing it all in it really does. If it had been the rest of my garden then I would have definitely.”

Police are investigating the fire which happened at around 3.15am yesterday.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “A fire has 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 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.