SMALLHOLDERS in Sheffield were urged this week to be on their guard after a chicken house was deliberately set on fire and destroyed, killing two birds.
The warning came from Tom Brown, aged 38, who has an allotment in High Storrs close to his home.
He said his family had been left distraught by the attack. “A neighbour sounded the alarm as he saw the flames and by the time I got there the shed was well alight,” he said.
“We called the fire brigade but they weren’t able to save the shed, it was completely burned to the ground.”
Tom managed to rescue three of the chickens, which are kept as family pets.
“What has upset us is that this was a deliberate act and the shed was very obviously a chicken house. My wife Amanda and our two boys are upset – they can’t understand why someone would do something like that.
“The boys are seven and five and they both helped me build the shed in the first place after our other chickens were killed by a fox.”
Tom said the chickens had suffered two fox attacks.
“They were in a smaller run then but in one of the attacks half the birds were killed. So we haven’t been very lucky. The two that were lost this time were young, just a few weeks old, while another one was adopted.
“But there’s just one chicken who has now survived all three attacks – she must be as hard as nails,” he said.
Police are investigating the attack and Tom said they found a footprint at the scene.
“Whoever did this had to get through a hawthorn hedge, so is likely to have scratches on their face or head, and someone may have seen someone in that condition,” he said.
“But smallholders should be on their guard, it could happen again.
“Kids are passing by the allotments all the time and it’s likely that one of them is to blame.”