Animals killed after vandals trash farm

The ProCo animal apprenticeship and skills centre, Wigan, had a break in at the weekend, where many animals were let out of their cages and damage was done to several pens. Animal care apprentice Rob Moss surveys the damage. Picture by Paul Heyes, Monday August 07, 2017.
The ProCo animal apprenticeship and skills centre, Wigan, had a break in at the weekend, where many animals were let out of their cages and damage was done to several pens. Animal care apprentice Rob Moss surveys the damage. Picture by Paul Heyes, Monday August 07, 2017.

Staff at an apprenticeship farm have been left devastated after a break-in caused the death of several beloved animals.

Vandals broke into the ProCo site on Montrose Avenue last weekend and callously trashed the farm, tipping over several cages, smashing windows and releasing many of the animals into the open.

Although the vandals did not harm any animals themselves, it is believed another animal such as a fox may have wandered into the grounds and killed them.

So far one rabbit, three ducks, two chickens and at least 25 birds have died. Many other animals that survived have been left clearly distressed by the ordeal, staff say.

Colleagues are still reeling from the mindless act, with business development manager Geraldine McKenna describing it as “absolutely awful”.

She said: “These actions have caused massive undue stress to the animals, and also to the staff.

“It’s taken away all our valuable resources. We are non-profit and we have lots of students coming to us who won’t be able to go anywhere else.

“It’s just pure vandalism. There’s no motive in mind.”

The break-in is thought to have occurred at around 11pm last Saturday, August 5, when CCTV images first showed

alpacas wandering loose around the car park.

Geraldine said: “We think the people got in over a fence, and let the sheep and alpacas out, then they started vandalising things.”

The grim discovery of the scene was made by animal care apprentice Rob Moss, who came in early on Sunday morning to feed the animals.

He said: “Every day I come in and see the animals safe. This is just devastating.”

Geraldine added: “They’ve broke all the doors they could on the animal enclosures.

“A chicken hutch was kicked over with all the chicks inside. Some won’t come out of their enclosure now because they are all so distressed. It’s really sad.

“Rob was really upset, as you can imagine, because there were lots of dead animals around.”

The culprits even went as far as to kick over troughs so that animals had no drinking water through the night.

Trevor Barton, a director at ProCo, said: “ProCo try very hard to teach young people about the future of veterinary care and things of that nature.

“We are dedicated to working with these animals and clearly some people think it’s okay to ruin the whole thing.

“Some of the animals have been treated with cruelty and I’m very sad this has taken place. We take an extremely dim view of this.”

Anyone with information should contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.