Police are investigating after prize poultry were slaughtered and stolen during a savage attack in Derbyshire.

Around 140 Orpington hens and 20 Aylesbury ducks were killed and snatched in the raid in Old Glossop in the High Peak.

The thieves waded through water to get to the birds – thought to be worth thousands of pounds. The birds were then carried away, either to be eaten or sold on.

Breeder David Pownall has been left devastated by the attack. “There was a cockerel’s head and neck on the floor that had been ripped off its body,” he said. “There was blood on the walls and feathers on the floor.”

Police have CCTV footage from a nearby factory of three hooded men in a van. The footage shows the men climbing out and wading across a brook to break into the poultry sheds.

They believe that, after killing the birds, they stuffed their bodies into bags, jumped back into the van and drove off.

“I have been breeding and showing poultry since I was 12,” said Mr Pownell. “These were not ordinary chickens, they were show birds. They were strains from birds I had imported from Germany, Belgium and Denmark.

“This raid came close to wiping me out – fortunately they did not touch a couple of co-ops where there were other birds.”

Police are now appealing for witnesses.