A PADIHAM great-grandad and pigeon fancier has once again been left devastated after 50 of his prized birds were burned to death in an arson attack – the fourth one in eight years.
Yobs struck at Mr Geoffrey Williams’ allotment, in Quarry Street, at around 5-30pm on Wednesday, setting fire to a pigeon loft which was razed to the ground.
Two fire engines from Padiham Fire Station attended the scene but the fire had already taken hold.
Mr Williams, who lives in Partridge Hill Street with wife Sheila and has had the allotment for more than 50 years, was yesterday too upset to speak about the incident, which his family predict will have cost him thousands of pounds.
But his daughter Julie branded the arsonists “scum” and pleaded with anyone with information to contact the family or police.
“I don’t understand what they get out of it. They are killing animals. They would’ve had to climb over two fences to get onto the allotment. They are scum.”
Since the arson attack Mr Williams, who is a member of Padiham Pigeon Club, and his family have had lots of messages of support from people in Padiham and police are investigating the blaze.
Julie, who works at the Hilton Rest Home, close to the allotment, said she feared for her dad’s health because after the last arson attack he ended up in hospital.
“It makes him sick, the pigeons are his life. He’s up there every day of the year seeing to them and he won’t let anyone else see to them. Last time it happened he thought about giving up but we won’t let him, we’ll keep him going.
“At the weekend his grandchildren and son-in-law will be up at the allotment helping him to clean up.”
Julie is now urging Padiham residents to report any information to the police.
After an arson attack in 2006, Mr Williams spent £16,000 repairing the damage and a similar incident in March 2008 saw 70 pigeons and two pet rabbits burned to death.
“For a racing pigeon you can pay anything from £50 to more than £30,000 depending on their pedigree and how well they race,” said Julie.
“These people are killing animals, it’s the same as setting fire to kennels and killing cats or dogs.
“There’s no electricity on the allotment and there’s no CCTV nearby to make it more secure. We just don’t know what else to do.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.