A Blackpool allotment site has been a repeated target for yobs who have broken into 28 sheds in just two weeks.
The mystery offenders, who are being hunted by the police, have so far made off with an Italian air rifle, seeds, 200 pellets, 50 throwing darts, a dozen eggs, and, bizarrely, three small quails from the allotments on Lawson Road, Marton.
They must have kicked or stamped on one of my chickens because they have broken her wing and one of her legs
One allotment owner, who did not wish to be named, was among the first to have his shed broken into on September 7, when a thief broke three locks and damaged a fence to gain access to his plot during the night.
He said: “I have put a lot of work into my allotment. I’ve been working there constantly for the last six or seven years, and for someone to just walk in there and smash locks and break everything up - it’s unbelievable.”
An air rifle and ammunition was stolen in the raid, along with three of the allotment owner’s’s pet quails.
He said: “They must have kicked or stamped on one of my chickens because they have broken her wing and one of her legs.
“When I got there she was in agony and crying at me. I have a duck outside and it’s absolutely terrified.
“It won’t go near me at all now. They stole three quails and destroyed the quail coop altogether. Why the others didn’t get out I don’t know.
“Aside from the livestock I’m worried about the air gun because it’s quite powerful. In the wrong hands it could be deadly.”
The raids didn’t stop there, as the mystery criminals embarked on a wave of destruction throughout the allotment site, breaking into and vandalising sheds and vegetable patches on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The allotment owner added: “We’ve got to do something about it.
“There are 121 plots on the site so it would be impossible for cameras to capture the whole thing. We’ve started taking turns doing patrols on a night.”
He added that the prime suspects were two male youths who had been spotted running away from the allotment site by a fellow gardener,
Terry Harrison, secretary of neighbouring allotment site David Slack Allotments, said: “Allotments always have been easy targets among thieves.
“They are main targets for car boot people.
“They break into the allotments and they will steal anything they can sell easily at a car boot sale for a quick buck.
“A lawn mower can go for £400, tools and shears can go for £20 - it all adds up.
“They don’t usually come in and vandalise the place - unless it’s kids.
“We had a bad spate of vandalism last year that was down to a 17-year-old boy.
“We’re lucky enough to have CCTV cameras, but they can’t zoom in on a person’s face so all you can use to identify them is their clothes. It’s an uphill battle.”
Call police on 101.