Hartlepool dad left heartbroken after beloved pigeons decapitated in sickening attack

A Hartlepool dad has been left devastated after discovering his pigeons had been decapitated in a sickening attack at his allotment.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 6:00 am
Dowson Road Allotment holder Peter Chappell, who found his pigeons decapitated on New Year's Day.
Dowson Road Allotment holder Peter Chappell, who found his pigeons decapitated on New Year's Day.

Peter Chappell was returning home after a few days away for Christmas when he received a heartbreaking phone call from his uncle on New Year’s Day to inform him that his eight Budapest High Flyer pigeons had been killed.

The 42-year-old said he arrived at his allotment on Nicholson Field, Downson Road, Hartlepool, on Thursday, January 2 to find the mutilated bodies of his beloved pet pigeons on the floor of the shed where he cared for them.

Peter, from the King Oswy area, said he believes the attack took place overnight on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2019, to the early hours of New Year’s Day, January 1, 2020.

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Cleveland Police has called for the public to come forward with any information.

While he was away for four days, his uncle had been caring for the pigeons and checking on them each day.

Now Peter is hoping for justice for what has happened and is keen to see security measures installed on the allotment to deter attackers.

The dad-of-three said: “Someone has broken into my allotment, killed my pigeons, snapped their necks and pulled the heads off them.

Peter Chappell.

“I would have rather they had taken them and then at least they would have still been alive.

“I have had the allotment around six years and the rents are increasing each year so I would like the council to do something about the security here and consider installing the likes of CCTV.”

Mr Chappell also keeps 16 Roller pigeons in a separate shed but said they had not been harmed.

He said his allotment compound which is surrounded by a 6ft fence, had been locked that the time of the incident, and said that it followed a series of attacks on other allotment holder’s animals which had seen ducks and chickens killed.

The scaffolder continued: “I kept the pigeons as a pet and it was hobby to fly them.

“They are Budapest High Flyers so they fly high in the sky and come back if you set them free.

“I had been given six of them as a gift from a lad I know in Norton and had bred two of them with the intention of breeding more.

“They are quite hard to get and are and expensive type of bird costing around £50 to £100 for a pair.

“I can’t afford to buy some more now as there is the added expense of keeping them.

“And I don’t want to if people are going to come along and pull their heads off them.

“I am about to become a grandad and had hoped to show my grandson how to fly the pigeons.”

A force spokeswoman added: “We have taken initial crime details and would welcome any information on who may be responsible for this callous activity.”

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesperson said: “This was an appalling incident and our sympathies go to Mr Chappell.

“We would urge anyone with any information about the attack to please contact the police.

“The allotments are surrounded by a high fence and the gates to the site have locks – all tenants on the site are issued with a key to the gates when taking up their tenancy and we would remind all the tenants that it is one of the requirements of their tenancy that they ensure that the gates are kept locked at all times, day and night.

“We also provide other security support to tenants such as anti-vandal paint, should they require it.

“The allotment rents have only been increased in line with inflation and we do not have the considerable financial resources which would be required to install and monitor CCTV on the site.”

Contact Cleveland Police via the 101 number quoting ref 000944 if you have any information.

Crimestoppers can also be contact anonymously online www.crimestoppers-uk.org or on 0800 555 111.