Another Pigeon Loft Arson
A competitive environment tends to result in questionable behaviour from some of the people involved. All sports are dogged by underhand tactics and downright cheating. Sadly, pigeon racing is no exception and to make matters worse, there seems to be an increasing number of arson attacks on lofts.
Not So Happy New Year
We were just 3 days into 2017 when news broke of an arson attack on pigeon lofts in Sunderland. Distraught fancier Joe Ayre was alerted to a fire at his lofts by his daughter who saw the flames when she was on her way to work. The fire service had been called but the blaze was out of control by the time that they arrived and 100 birds were lost. Mr Ayre’s lofts were located on an allotment as so many are. The 54-year-old had begun breeding pigeons as a young boy. He doesn’t know whether he will establish another loft in the future as he fears another incident. He is pleading for witnesses to come forward.
There has been what can only be described as an epidemic of arson attacks on pigeon lofts in recent times. In 2014 there were a number of incidents in the Newcastle area culminating in a blaze which killed 400 birds in July. In December 2015 300 birds died in a fire in South Shields. February 2016 100 birds died in a fire in Washington, Sunderland and April 2016 140 birds were killed in a fire in Country Durham. These are just some of the incidents which have occurred in just one region of the country.
Targeted or Random Attacks?
Most fanciers do not have the space at their properties to house their lofts and so are forced to locate them on allotments. This means that the lofts are vulnerable to attack. But is it the rivals of the victims that are setting all of these fires?
The Royal Pigeon Racing Association thinks not. They suspect that the number of incidents involving particular fanciers being targeted are small and that most of the fires have been the result of mindless vandalism. It is hard to know the truth as the perpetrators are so rarely brought to justice. However, it is hard to imagine that quite so many fires could be random attacks. Certainly many of the fanciers who have lost their birds believe that their rivals are behind the fires.
Arson attacks on pigeon lofts are a major problem. Most fanciers would not be able to afford to enhance the security of their lofts or to house them on more secure sites. It looks like this isn’t a problem that will disappear any time soon. It is such a shame for the fanciers and a tragedy for the birds.