14/08/2014 12:55 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Hunt For Thugs Who Decapitated School's Pet Ducks

Hunt for thugs who decapitated schoolchildren's pet ducks

Reception Year children returning to school after half-term were left distraught after they were told the pet ducks they had cared for had been killed by vandals.

The two ducks – called Dippy and Happy Feet – had been decapitated and their heads taken away by the thugs, who police believe are a couple of 12-year-old boys.

The ducks were discovered dead yesterday by staff at Sandon Primary School, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs. Each year group at the school have birds assigned to them which they care for. The ducks belonged to the four and five-year-old pupils in the Reception class.

Headteacher Rachel Beckett, 42, said: "This is an appalling attack and one which has left the children devastated.

"The staff and students are very shocked. What makes it so sad it that these ducks were cared for by our youngest students, who have only just started school.They are finding it hard to deal with."

Teachers sensitively explained to the children what had happened but the pupils were left in tears.

Ms Beckett said: "We respect our children's intelligence, and have explained that the ducks are no longer with us but the children have found it very upsetting.

"The students get so much out of our farm. They clean out and feed the birds and they sell the eggs. They love them."

The farm at the school opened in September and the ducks, which had been donated by a parent of a pupil, had been kept in a coop in a secure compound, surrounded by high fencing, along with six chickens and two goats. The farm was locked over half-term with parents and staff pitching in to look after the animals.

Ms Beckett added: "The community all help out looking after our animals, and this horrific incident has left everyone stunned. Who does such a thing like this?

"The police think this must have been premeditated because the pen is so secure. I've written to parents explaining the situation. I'm appealing for anyone who knows anything to step forward. I'm sure this will shock people because we're a very tight community.

"I hope that if anyone does know anything they will speak up. In the mean time we will be securing the farm to make sure nothing like this happens again."

Year Six student, David Foster, 10, helped look after the animals during half-term. He said: "I've got chickens at home. We have all looked after the birds at school during the holidays, we feed and clean them out."

Classmate Adam Dhorley, 10, added: "It's disgusting that someone took the heads. I feel sorry for reception because they were looking after them. They are all really sad."

A police spokesman said: "Police were called at around 3.15pm on Saturday to attend the school following reports of two boys, aged around 12, in the school grounds chasing the ducks and chickens.

"We received a further call yesterday at 10.20am. Two ducks had been found dead. Local officers have been made aware."