VIDEO: Barnsley allotment holder’s tears after birds killed by arsonists

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A South Yorkshire allotment holder was left in tears by the ‘absolute scum’ who burned his beloved pigeons and chickens alive.

Several sheds at the Hunningley Field allotments in Hunningley Lane, Stairfoot, Barnsley, were destroyed in a fire in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday, March 15).

John Holmes, 73, at his allotment in Barnsley where his pigeons and chickens were killed in a fire.

John Holmes, 73, at his allotment in Barnsley where his pigeons and chickens were killed in a fire.

All the buildings targeted seem to have contained either racing pigeons or chickens, all of which died in the fire.

Police are treating the blaze as arson.

One allotment holder, 73-year-old John Holmes, lost 100 pigeons and 35 chickens. He was brought to tears when he saw what happened.

“I’ve never known anything as bad. There’s nothing left,” he said.

Over 180 Pigeons perished in an Arson attack on two allotment plots on Hunningley Lane, Barnsley. Picture: Marie Caley NSST Allotments MC 4

Over 180 Pigeons perished in an Arson attack on two allotment plots on Hunningley Lane, Barnsley. Picture: Marie Caley NSST Allotments MC 4

“I’ve never been as devastated in my life.”

John visits his allotment every day to feed his birds and maintain the plot. He has been preparing for the start of the pigeon racing season.

“I’ve spent thousands in money and more in hours here,” he said.

“This is my holiday.”

John Holmes, 73, at his allotment in Barnsley where his pigeons and chickens were killed in a fire.

John Holmes, 73, at his allotment in Barnsley where his pigeons and chickens were killed in a fire.

John said he did not know who was responsible for starting the fire at his allotment, but suspected they had deliberately targeted his pigeons.

“They are absolute scum,” said John.

Another plot targeted by arsonists belonged to Dave Harrison, who had 80 birds there. Steven Sweeney, who helps out on his allotment, said: “It took four years to work a team up. It’s four years’ work gone down the drain. I feel gutted.”

Birds have been targeted at the Hunningley Field allotments before.

Last April, people tortured and killed birds belonging to Scott Algar.

“The fire brought it all back,” he said.

“Every day is a constant fear. It’s just cruelty.”

Harry Charlesworth, who manages the allotments, said: “It’s not just housing pigeons for racing, its how many hours of work and money goes into it.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101.