Birdman horrified after allotment break-in at Swaffham
Concerns have been raised over repeated acts of vandalism at Swaffham allotments with one bird breeder having his lifetime hobby destroyed.
The allotment site off Shouldham Lane has had a “continuing trend of petty damage and things being stolen”according to chairman of the Swaffham Community and Leisure Association (Scalga) Graham Edwards.
Allotment holder, David Bowman, a breeder of rare ‘show’ birds and poultry has been left devastated after vandals broke into his cage and killed some of his flock.
Three of his birds were found dead in a bucket with a lid covering them.
Some of the birds kept by Mr Bowman are of the Marans class, a fighting breed from France.
Mr Edwards described Mr Bowman’s case as the “tip of the iceberg” at the allotment.
“I just wish the people who are doing it will stop so I can continue with what I am doing and respect my skill as a breeder,” Mr Bowman said.
“I have been going to shows all over the country with my fighting birds which is like a big family.
“But that enjoyment has now gone.”
He said he has missed out on 10 shows because of the vandals who had broken in through the roof and side of his cage at the allotment.
Norfolk police have been contacted by the Lynn News who said they are currently investigating the vandalism at the site.
There is no CCTV at the allotment to identify culprits.
Residents4Residents town councillor Ian Pilcher, who is a neighbour of Mr Bowman, said: “What a sad reflection of society today when a victim of rural crime considers moving away to pursue his lifetime hobby peacefully, whilst perpetrators seemingly continue their lifestyle undisturbed.”
Mr Pilcher suggested the fighter birds may have been stolen for profit by making use of them through the online gambling network.
He added: “The police have been very positive and supportive when monitoring the road up to the allotment in recent weeks.
“They are doing the best they can and are desperate to find evidence so there is no criticism of them whatsoever.”
Mr Bowman has won over 20 trophies during his time as a ‘show’ bird breeder and is also a member of the Norfolk Poultry Club. He has won championships in the ‘Hard Feather birds’ category.
And Mr Pilcher said there will be in the same position as Mr Bowman.
“There will be other people who will be left depressed because of these acts of vandalism,” councillor Ian Pilcher said.
He showed the Lynn News on Tuesday where someone has driven through a hedgerow so that a horse can graze in a field off Princes Street.
The horse was on its own in the field and tied up to a post.
The field is 400 metres from the allotment where there have been a succession of break-ins and acts of vandalism in recent months, but whether there is any link to the problems is not known.
Chairman of Scalga, Graham Edwards, who is also a town councillor, said: “This is the worst we have ever had and is a never-ending catalogue of crimes.
“The police have told us we need to provide a photograph of the perpetrators as they have to have proof.”
Allotment holder David Bowman said he spent roughly £800 on his plot including wire netting, padlocks and corrugated iron.
“No matter what you do, they always seem to find a way of getting in,” he added.
Chickens have allegedly been “mutilated” at the Splashes site on Castle Acre Road too.