HEARTLESS thieves raided an allotment and stole dozens of animals – many of which require urgent medical attention.
Police are investigating after burglars broke into a plot in Acacia Avenue, in Horden, and snatched dozens of rabbits, hens and quails.
Officers say the allotment owner, Samantha Cornforth, takes in sick and pregnant animals and many youngsters from the local community often visit, and are therefore devastated by the cruel theft.
PC Kathryn Davies, of Peterlee Police, said 36 hens, six rabbits and four quails were taken in the raid, as well as various garden tools, including five dutch hoes, a Stanley saw and forks and spades.
She added that the culprits had removed some rabbit hutches, but may have been disturbed as others had been moved to the other end of the garden.
One of the rabbits, a mini lop, is tagged, which may make it easy to identify as stolen.
PC Davies said the allotment was also raided in July last year.
She added: “Samantha takes these sick animals in out of the goodness of her heart.
“Some of them, which need medication, could die.
“She has little local helpers that she knows, children who go and enjoy the animals, so it’s been heartbreaking for them.”
Anyone with information about the incident, which happened between 11.15pm on Wednesday and 5.15am on Thursday, is urged to contact PC Davies on 101.