Children aged, 12, 13, and 15 arrested over chicken killings at Plymouth school
THE headteacher of a special school has condemned the killing of three pet chickens after a break-in.
Three boys, the youngest aged 12, have been arrested on suspicion of stealing the birds and stamping them to death.
The three, aged 12, 13 and 15 were arrested on suspicion of causing cruelty to animals and theft. They were released and are due to answer bail today and tomorrow.
The three dead chickens were discovered shortly after 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
They had been stolen from Brook Green Centre for Learning in Bodmin Road, Whitleigh and were found close by.
Cliff Edwards is the head teacher of the school, which specialises in educating 11-16 year olds with special needs or behavioural issues.
He branded the incident as "a tragedy" and "despicable."
Mr Edwards, who broke the news to the school pupils yesterday morning, said: "I am disappointed that people have been so cruel to these defenceless creatures – it was a despicable act.
"We have a brilliant relationship with the community who have helped look after the chickens, which we've had at the school since September. They were well looked after.
"This is a tragedy for our children who tended to the chickens like they were pets."
The school grounds, which are guarded by CCTV cameras, were broken into and the chickens were stolen from their coop.
Mr Edwards continued: "The chickens were well secured and guarded to protect them from being attacked by foxes or buzzards.
"The chickens were taken off site and killed, I believe they were found and the matter was reported to police by a member of the public."
He praised the quick and efficient actions of the police, particular PCSO Jan Cooper, in the aftermath of the grim discovery.
The local community was left reeling from the news about the chickens.
But one woman has stepped in to help the school.
Mr Edwards explained: "This morning we have had a call from a Dr Nichols, who lives locally but is moving house. "She has very kindly decided to donate four chickens to the school and we are very grateful to her.
"Acts such as this restore our faith in human nature."
Devon and Cornwall police confirmed that the arrested children have been released on police bail.
The 15 and 13 year old, both from Plymouth, are expected to answer their bail at Crownhill police station today.
The 12-year-old, from Saltash, is to attand the police station tomorrow.
A police spokesman confirmed: "At around 3.40pm we received a report that people had entered school grounds and stolen three chickens which were found dead.
"It looks like they have been stamped on."