‘Cheeky’ thieves caught rustling hens

A “cheeky” gang of hen rustlers have struck in the Derbyshire area, stealing “about 20 chickens” and prompting a warning for farmers to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

At least seven thieves were disturbed attempting to steal chickens at Highfield Happy Hens farm in Etwall, Derbyshire, last Friday (10 April). The farm is a commercial free-range unit that also works with troubled youths.

See also: Rural crime remains “persistent problem”

Farmer Roger Hosking, who in 2011 was made an MBE for work with young people, said a member of his staff had been lured into a conversation with three men.

But a disturbance in a nearby shed while they were talking prompted him to investigate – whereupon he found a group of four or five people trying to steal birds.

When disturbed, they made a quick getaway in two vehicles.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Mr Hosking told Poultry World, “It was broad daylight, and the chickens are only worth about £2 each.”

He added one car used was a silver BMW, and warned farmers to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire police said: “One of [the men] spoke broken English and was in his late 20s, slim, with short hair.

“One of the other men was in his late 40s, stocky, with black hair with bits of grey and wearing a grey suit jacket.

“The member of staff thinks there was possibly one man in the bigger group but the rest were women. The cars they drove off in were a dark-blue estate and a silver BMW.”

Anyone with information can call Derbyshire Police on 101.

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