A GARDEN centre in the middle of a chaotic chicken grabbing fiasco last month has now been targeted by thieves – who swiped £2,000 worth of goods.

Last month Northumbria Police officers were called to Oaklands Market Garden, near Swalwell Roundabout, in Blaydon, Gateshead, after members of the public took an online promise of free chickens too far.

The owner of the market had passed away and an online plea to re-home 500 chickens resulted in chaos, with people jumping 6ft high walls in an effort to grab the hens.

Police warned people that a free offer of something on Facebook gave no one the right to enter a locked premises.

Just weeks later, thieves have now targeted the property, stealing £2,000 worth of garden ornaments.

PC Martine Coxon said: “This is a disgusting opportunistic theft.

“On Monday morning someone went to check the premises and discovered the gates had been rammed open and most of the garden ornaments had been swiped.

“The theft would have taken place between 5.30pm on Friday, March 20 and 11am on Monday.

“We are appealing to the public to please get in touch if they saw anything suspicious in the area over the weekend. Any information would be gratefully appreciated.

"You may think what you saw is nothing but it might just be the missing puzzle piece that helps solve this case.”

Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101.