A group of three teenage boys have been convicted of setting fire to live chickens which were being kept as pets at a primary school.
The teenagers used a flammable liquid to ignite the two birds which were kept at St Peters Primary School in Brotton, Teeside. One died instantly and the other died later from the injuries.
The RSPCA prosecuted the boys for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The incident took place on August 25th of last year. Police spotted the teenagers, aged 15, 15 and 13, looking suspicious and noted the smell of petrol or lighter fluid when they spoke to them.
However, the chickens were not discovered until the next morning by the school caretaker.
The three teenagers all pleaded not guilty, however the trial found them guilty. David Ward, who defended one of the 16-year-olds claims the boys have since grown up since the attack, and stated that the past 11 months waiting for the trial 'has been a significant awakener for him.'
Sarah Price, who was defending the other two teens, said of one of his clients: 'He now accepts he was part and parcel of this incident.'
The older boy claims he didn't take part in the act, but didn't step in to stop it either. The younger boy had a £100-a-week cannabis habit, although Miss Price claims he's now cut it down to £5-a-week. Sadly the boy's habit also led to a family fire from a still-lit joint. He claims he'll now give up entirely.
District Judge Kristina Harrison, who sentenced the boy, said: 'Why three young men should go and set fire to chickens and basically treat them in the manner you did I don't know.'
The first 16-year-old boy, who was also being sentenced for breaching a community order, has been sent to a detention and training programme for six months. The second 16-year-old boy was given supervision for 12 months and ordered to pay £50 compensation to the school. Both were banned from keeping animals for three years. District Judge Harrison said she would sentence the 14-year-old cannabis smoker on August 13.
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