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Animals killed and set free at Westlands secondary school, Sittingbourne

By Lewis Dyson

Police are investigating after a number of animals were found killed at a school farm following a break-in over the Christmas holiday.

Chickens were found slain at Westlands secondary school in Westlands Avenue, Sittingbourne, yesterday.

A number of animals had been set free and taps left running overnight.

Head Simon Cox with Farm Manager Oliver Howland and Farm Technician Sue Hodkinson with one of the remaining chickens at the Westlands School Farm
Head Simon Cox with Farm Manager Oliver Howland and Farm Technician Sue Hodkinson with one of the remaining chickens at the Westlands School Farm

CCTV is understood to show four intruders kicking a pig and beating it with sticks.

They are also believed to be seen in the footage stamping on chickens' heads and kicking them across the premises.

It is thought two pregnant cows, a pregnant pig and piglets were also let out of their pens.

Swale Academies Trust principal Jon Whitcombe, who oversees the management of the school, visited today to survey the damage along with police.

Mr Whitcombe said: “We have had a break-in of youths over the Christmas break who have behaved in an abysmal manner towards some of our animals.

“We are now dealing with the consequences.

Westlands School
Westlands School

“We have had a school farm for many years. It’s a much-loved part of the school community and the children really benefit from the opportunities the farm provides.”

He called the perpetrators “mindless hooligans” who have behaved exceptionally cruelly to the animals.

"The young farmers here are devastated by what the animals had to experience, seeing the carnage these youths have been responsible for" - Jon Whitcombe

Mr Whitcombe added: “The young farmers here are devastated by what the animals had to experience, seeing the carnage these youths have been responsible for."

He said the incident was one of the most serious incidents to affect the secondary in 20 years and the school would be working with police to ensure those responsible are caught and dealt with.

Police confirmed it is investigating the incident and inquiries are ongoing.

A spokesman said: “We received report on Thursday December 28 that a number of animals had been killed at an address in Westlands Avenue, Sittingbourne.”

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