Vandals go on torture and killing rampage at children’s farm park

VANDALS broke into a children’s farm park before torturing and killing animals and then fleeing with a collection of exotic creatures.

Jim Wainhouse of St Leonards Farm in Esholt. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

The raiders targeted St Leonard’s Farm Park last Thursday, before returning over the weekend to subject the animals to a series of harrowing ordeals.

They escaped with a number of the park’s animals, including a muntjac deer, two meerkats and a 70-year-old tortoise.

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Jim Wainhouse, who has run the popular attraction in Esholt, near Bradford, with his wife Denise, for 20 years, said the tortoise called Samantha, which they have owned for 15 years, was the first target and then whoever was responsible came at different times over the weekend.

During the spate of attacks, the vandals used the park’s own exotic mice as live bait to allow them to steal two meerkats, before torturing a cockatiel to death. The bird was found dumped in a sports bag in a nearby car park.

Two further cockatiels and an albino rat were also victims of the destruction. Police do not know if they were taken or fled from the park.

Staff at the farm park have appealed to villagers to join in the hunt and the missing meerkat brothers were found roaming around Esholt, while the rat was also located.

The search is still continuing for the other cockatiel, Paddy, which is grey and green with yellow cheeks, and also for Samantha the tortoise. There has been a possible sighting of the muntjac deer, but no sign of the rat.

Sergeant James Firth, of the Shipley Neighbourhood Area Team, said: “These incidents have clearly been upsetting for all concerned and we are keen to hear from anyone with information on who might be responsible.”

West Yorkshire Police has appealed to anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the Chapel Lane area of Esholt between last Thursday and Sunday to contact officers on the non-emergency number of 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.