A COPPLESTONE woman has described the horrific moment she found an intruder in her garden stealing one of her pet hens - all the while being watched by four other youths from the pavement over her garden hedge!

Anne Gatton said she saw the intruder in her garden stealing Peggy, a Black Frizzle hen she has had for seven years, from her garden at Station Road, Copplestone at 8.30pm on Easter Monday, April 10.

Anne said: “I was in the conservatory and saw him near my hen house.

“I shouted at him ‘Get out’ and he just carried on running around after her.  He had so much cheek.

“I think he picked her off her perch but had dropped her and that was why he was running around down the bottom of my garden.

“I was too scared to go down there.

“Peggy is small to hold and he had slid the bolt to the hen house.

“I think he had a hoodie on and he got in through the hedge by standing on a shelter roof at the far end of the garden and jumping down.

“He also left by going through the hedge in the same area.

“He was quite tall, I guess about 16 years-old, not a youngster, but there must have been four or five young people all together.

“All the others were watching over the hedge from the pavement.

“I guess they were setting each other up.

“What was amazing was after I shouted he just carried on, if it had been young children they would have run.”

She continued: “After they left I walked to the bridge but there was no sign of Peggy.

“I dread to think what they have done with her.


“I was so traumatised afterwards I just sat there crying and shaking.

“I was told by a neighbour that the youths were seen going up across a field opposite.

“I have walked around and people with dogs have been in the field.

“The worry is if they left her in the field she will have died by now.

“Being a Frizzle, a special breed, she wouldn’t survive in this wet weather and could also be caught by a fox or weasel.

“I thought to myself, what do they want with her, what will they do to her, she doesn’t deserve to be so cruelly treated.

“She was a rescue hen, is an old lady, and after being treated badly in her younger life has now been treated so badly at what I believe was the end of her life.

“If she is still alive I hope the gang make amends and bring her back.

“It might have just been a stupid thing to do but I don’t know whether I feel I am in shock or just angry.”


Mrs Gratton said she had reported the incident to the police via an online form and said she hoped that the community police officers would call around the village more and “get involved again”.

“At the moment I feel so vulnerable.  The garden is my sanctuary and someone has trespassed in that.

“I do wonder if parents know what their youngsters are doing.

“I can’t work out what the youths are going to do next.

“I wonder what is in their heads.”


Mrs Gratton said she knew that some people have doorcam footage of the youngsters behaving badly in Station Road.

“I am scared that what they are doing will escalate into something really serious.

“I heard that signs have been moved and plants pulled out and if the police don’t stop it, what will happen?”

Mrs Gratton said she is now facing a dilemma because the one remaining hen she has will not be able to live alone.

She continued: “I feel for my one hen left behind.

“I’m trying to find a nice new home for her.”

In a message to the youth who took Peggy she said: “I hope that he is ashamed of himself.  He will have to live with himself for his actions.

“One day I hope he gives me a face-to-face apology and tells me what he did with Peggy.

“Only he and his friends know what they did with her.”

If you witnessed the incident or have any information or doorcam footage that could help police with their enquiries, please contact the police via the website here (https://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us-beta/contact-us/ ) or by calling 101.