Primary school pupils were reduced to tears after cruel crooks stole four pet chickens they had watched hatch from eggs.
Christened Rose, Bluebell, Daffodil and Ivy, the feathered foursome were housed in custom made coop called Peckingham Palace at Bradwell Village School.
“The children enjoyed spending a lot of their time helping to clean out the chickens, feed them and taking responsibility for them,” said teacher Helen Thomson.
Thieves used bolt cutters to break into Peckingham Palace over the weekend. They would also have needed a ladder to scale the school fence.
All four chickens were stolen, along with a large box containing their food.
Staff had to break the news to children on Monday, Many of the youngsters have since made posters to put up in the local area appealing to help to find their pets.
Outraged parents have also joined the search.
“During the holidays, families volunteered to look after the chickens are loved having this to do so their theft has affected parents as well as children,” said Mrs Thomson.
The chickens were hatched in the school in January.
“After falling in love with them, we decided to build a coop and keep them. The Bradwell Parish Council kindly gave us a grant to build their custom made pen,” said Mrs Thomson.
She said the school had been inundated with offers for more chickens - but the children want their own quartet to return.
Anybody who has any information about the culprits, or knows anyone who has suddenly acquired four new chickens, should contact the Citizen newsdesk on 01908 372279.