CRUEL vandals killed seven racing pigeons after breaking into an allotment and daubing sheds with graffiti.

The perpetrators broke through a boundary fence to access the allotment off Arnold Road near Hundens Park, Darlington, overnight on March 24.

It is not yet clear how the pigeons were killed, although a wooden stick was found at the scene and police are looking into the possibility that it was used as a weapon against the birds.

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Sgt Louise Guest of Darlington police described the offence as “horrible” and said: “Regardless of the graffiti, what they have done inside the allotment is a worrying thing.

“We don’t know whether the graffiti is a tag for an individual or a graffiti group in the town, but somebody must know who has committed the offence and we want to bring them to justice.”

Sgt Guest added: “It is an isolated incident, there have been no further reports of people breaking into allotments at present.

“We are launching our Summer Nights campaign on March 31 after the clocks change to highlight how this can lead to an increase in crimes such as shed burglaries; we want to raise the profile and raise awareness of this type of crime.”

As well as the graffiti and the deceased pigeons, a number of allotments were also damaged during the break-in and police are urging anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area to contact them on 101, quoting crime number DJ1401834.