POLICE have been called to stop people plundering poultry after free hens were offered following the death of their owner.

Oaklands Market Garden, at Swalwell Roundabout, near Blaydon, has been inundated with visitors after a social media post circulated regarding the urgent need to re-home 500 chickens.

Those able to re-home the young hens had invited to stop by the market daily from 10 am to 1 pm to pick up the birds, however the premises are locked today and police are asking the public not to visit the site.

Officers are currently at the market following complaints from neighbours that people are ignoring the fact the shop is locked up and are jumping the 6ft wall around the premises in an effort to grab the chickens.

PC Caroline Jones, who was is at the scene, she said: “We aware that people have been jumping the 6ft wall around the garden centre and grabbing the chickens, in some cases being very heavy handed when passing them over the walls.

“Regardless what a post may say on Facebook, it is never OK to climb a wall and enter a locked premises. If it’s locked, it’s locked for a reason and please exercise some common sense.

“Please also remember that a man has died and a family are grieving, please be respectful.”