Papatoetoe West School pupils devastated after hens stolen by lockdown thieves

Children at Papatoetoe West School are “absolutely devastated” after their four beloved hens were stolen and likely killed by lockdown thieves this morning.

The South Auckland school community is reeling after being targeted by thieves for the third time during a Covid-19 lockdown.

Whitey, Mighty, Tweety and Bluey were part of a school programme where children cared for and fed them, as well as collected their eggs.

Pupils even helped construct a swing for them as part of science classes. They were considered a part of the school family, the school said.

School principal Diana Tregoweth told the Herald she learned of the hens’ fate this morning when a neighbour of the school rang her to report what looked like a group of people stealing them.

“She rang me in absolute tears. Not one but all four of them had been taken.

“She said they had climbed over two fences to get into the actual chicken run, which was quite a sturdy run so it was obviously well thought out.”

The teacher who has been looking after the chickens during lockdown raced to the school.

The hens were seen being carried away in bags, which has led the school community to believe the thieves probably killed them before taking them.

“If they could only realise how devastated not only the children are, but everyone who looks after the hens,” Tregoweth said. “They’re absolutely devastated.”

The neighbours were able to get a few photos and security camera footage, which will be reviewed.

A police spokesperson confirmed they received a report of the chicken theft about 11.40am. Enquiries were ongoing, they said.

There’s concern for children at the school after already going through a period of upheaval with the latest lockdown.

It’s the third time Papatoetoe West School has been targeted by thieves during Covid-19 lockdowns. Last year its swimming pool was broken into. The pump, chemicals, and the pool’s cleaning machine were stolen.

And last week the school was broken into again, although Tregoweth said it was difficult to determine whether just a few things had been upturned or anything was stolen.

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