Padiham pensioner, 74, ‘devastated’ as 50 prized pigeons are burned alive

Padiham pensioner, 74, ‘devastated’ as 50 prized pigeons are burned alive

FAMILY DEVASTATED Heather Williams-McLean surveys the remains of her grandfather’s pigeon loft on Quarry Street, Padiham, after a devastating fire

SHED Firefighters at the scene

SHED Firefighters at the scene

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

ARSONISTS have targeted a pigeon fancier for the fifth time in 10 years leaving him devastated.

Police said 50 racing pigeons, worth thousands of pounds, were killed in the blaze which destroyed a wooden cabin.

The birds were the “pride and joy” of Geoffrey Williams, 74, who has been keeping pigeons at his allotment in Padiham for 50 years.

Two fire crews from Padiham tackled the blaze at Mr Williams’ allotment, in Quarry Street, at around 5.30pm on Wednesday.

Mr Williams was too upset to talk yesterday.

He was previously targeted in November 2006, when he lost 60 birds in an arson attack and a similar incident in March 2008 which killed 100 birds and two pet rabbits.

His daughter Julie Williams blasted the arsonists as ‘senseless morons’ while the North West regional president of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association said it was ‘very sad’.

She said that her father was ‘physically sick’ when he saw the burnt out shed.

Miss Williams, 46, a manager at the nearby Hilton Residential Lodge, said: “This is his life. He never takes holidays, even on Christmas Day he’s down here tending to the birds.

“He’s lost thousands of pounds before because of the previous attacks.

“He’s won hundreds of prizes with them. They are his pride and joy.

“He built the fencing around the place himself, and he used to have a dog for security but was told he couldn’t have one any more when new houses were built.”

Mr Williams, a former miner and slaughterhouse worker, lives in Partridge Hill Street with his wife Sheila, 70.

He has kept pigeons at the allotment since 1962.

She said that after the previous incidents the family had taken turns in keeping a watch on the sheds as they feared another attack would happen. She said: “We’re hoping dad will start again but he’s very down at the moment. He doesn’t know what to do and he still in a state of shock.

“We won’t be able to start working on clearing up and repairing the area until the weekend.”

Proven racing-stock pigeons cost more than £100 each.

Miss Williams estimates the cost of damage from all five incidents is around £50,000.

Brian Tattersall, North West regional president of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, said: “I can’t believe people would take this sort of action against someone enjoying a healthy pastime. He’s not a young man and the sport gives him something to live for.”

Duncan Barker-Brown, watch manager at Padiham station, said: “We are treating it as deliberate and we’ll be helping the police with their investigations.

“The shed is wooden and has suffered 100 per cent fire damage. It is likely to have been targeted from the outside on purpose.”

Comments (16)

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9:40am Fri 30 Nov 12

useyourhead says...

mindless yobs, if you want to start again Mr Williams please get in touch via telegraph and i will gladly buy your first bird for you when your ready, don't let the B's grind you down.
mindless yobs, if you want to start again Mr Williams please get in touch via telegraph and i will gladly buy your first bird for you when your ready, don't let the B's grind you down. useyourhead
  • Score: 0

9:48am Fri 30 Nov 12

bikerjohn_uk says...

useyourhead wrote:
mindless yobs, if you want to start again Mr Williams please get in touch via telegraph and i will gladly buy your first bird for you when your ready, don't let the B's grind you down.
Count me in on that too. No doubt if the perps are caught, they'll get a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again...
[quote][p][bold]useyourhead[/bold] wrote: mindless yobs, if you want to start again Mr Williams please get in touch via telegraph and i will gladly buy your first bird for you when your ready, don't let the B's grind you down.[/p][/quote]Count me in on that too. No doubt if the perps are caught, they'll get a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again... bikerjohn_uk
  • Score: 0

10:49am Fri 30 Nov 12

hiltonbabe says...

to Bikerjohn -uk and useyourhead
mr williams is my dad, thankyou for the gesture its good to know there are still some decent people out there, some idiot wrote on here yesterday whats a bit of smoke and it really got to me because its left dad devestated, thanks again
to Bikerjohn -uk and useyourhead mr williams is my dad, thankyou for the gesture its good to know there are still some decent people out there, some idiot wrote on here yesterday whats a bit of smoke and it really got to me because its left dad devestated, thanks again hiltonbabe
  • Score: 0

11:44am Fri 30 Nov 12

Interocitor says...

Hope your dad gets over this.

Ask him to try and remember that most people aren't like the utter scumbags who did this.
Hope your dad gets over this. Ask him to try and remember that most people aren't like the utter scumbags who did this. Interocitor
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Fri 30 Nov 12

AndyW says...

What kind of mentally challenged scum does this?

Not only taking an elderly man's hobby from him, but killing 50 animals in a cruel and violent way.

Makes me sick.
Let's hope these people never find themselves in a similar situation...
What kind of mentally challenged scum does this? Not only taking an elderly man's hobby from him, but killing 50 animals in a cruel and violent way. Makes me sick. Let's hope these people never find themselves in a similar situation... AndyW
  • Score: 0

1:02pm Fri 30 Nov 12

hiltonbabe says...

Thankyou for all you comments i will pass them on to my dad who is not very well at the minute, we are getting ready for the big clear up at the weekend, removing the remains of the fire and building new fencing. at least then he wont have to keep looking at what the morons have done.x
Thankyou for all you comments i will pass them on to my dad who is not very well at the minute, we are getting ready for the big clear up at the weekend, removing the remains of the fire and building new fencing. at least then he wont have to keep looking at what the morons have done.x hiltonbabe
  • Score: 0

1:11pm Fri 30 Nov 12

mavrick says...

I hope they catch the scumbags involved. I do hope your dad gets over this, there are more good people out there than bad. good luck.
I hope they catch the scumbags involved. I do hope your dad gets over this, there are more good people out there than bad. good luck. mavrick
  • Score: 0

1:11pm Fri 30 Nov 12

hiltonbabe says...

If anyone knows of anyone getting rid of any wood could you please contact us via evening telegraph, as we need lots of wood to put up a new fence around the allotment for dad.x
If anyone knows of anyone getting rid of any wood could you please contact us via evening telegraph, as we need lots of wood to put up a new fence around the allotment for dad.x hiltonbabe
  • Score: 0

2:09pm Fri 30 Nov 12

katey h says...

omg how sad, hope who did this gets caught and gets more than the slap on wrists, whats the world coming too , 50yrs off keeping pigeons for some scum to destroy it all and kill these birds, my thought are with your dad, god bless you all helping him right now.
omg how sad, hope who did this gets caught and gets more than the slap on wrists, whats the world coming too , 50yrs off keeping pigeons for some scum to destroy it all and kill these birds, my thought are with your dad, god bless you all helping him right now. katey h
  • Score: 0

3:03pm Fri 30 Nov 12

hiltonbabe says...

The birds dont disturb anyone they make no noise and are taken a distance away to fly home, then they land are go straight into there lofts, and by the way there are not wild they are tame birds
The birds dont disturb anyone they make no noise and are taken a distance away to fly home, then they land are go straight into there lofts, and by the way there are not wild they are tame birds [ pets] hiltonbabe
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Fri 30 Nov 12

Ian123xyz says...

Scum who have come to realise they are scum and take their frustration out on the innocent. We pay good money for filth like this to breed through the benefit system. Unbelievable.

You know who you are guys and you know I am right?
Scum who have come to realise they are scum and take their frustration out on the innocent. We pay good money for filth like this to breed through the benefit system. Unbelievable. You know who you are guys and you know I am right? Ian123xyz
  • Score: 0

6:57pm Fri 30 Nov 12

Gazza b says...

Some people just do not understand the very special bond that a fancier has with his pigeons, my heart goes out to Mr Williams and his family.
The pigeon fancy is a very close community and no doubt will rally round to help if Mr Williams does decide to start again.
Its just sickening that these sort of acts happen in this day and age.
What enjoyment can anybody get from destroying this man's lifelong hobby and killing his birds.
Even if they are caught, the judicial system lets us down and these sort of yobs know it.
This is terrible news indeed.
Some people just do not understand the very special bond that a fancier has with his pigeons, my heart goes out to Mr Williams and his family. The pigeon fancy is a very close community and no doubt will rally round to help if Mr Williams does decide to start again. Its just sickening that these sort of acts happen in this day and age. What enjoyment can anybody get from destroying this man's lifelong hobby and killing his birds. Even if they are caught, the judicial system lets us down and these sort of yobs know it. This is terrible news indeed. Gazza b
  • Score: 0

7:04pm Fri 30 Nov 12

pwitch says...

I hope somebody has the guts to report them to the police. Scum deserve to be paraded round the town in chains.
I hope somebody has the guts to report them to the police. Scum deserve to be paraded round the town in chains. pwitch
  • Score: 0

2:49am Sat 1 Dec 12

kenbro says...

I'm 83. We had some rough areas in Blackburn when I was young, but there was nothing like this. We all had very little. No one had a car. Very few bikes. Old folks could walk the streets without being mugged. Never saw any vandalism. An occasional punch up by drunks outside a pub was the worst we saw. Bobbies were respected.
Where did that society go to ? Don't blame it on unemployment. Those folks came through the Great Depression and two wars. As some have said, the majority of the population are decent, law abiding people, but the percentage of young criminals seems to be growing, and it's every town, not just Padiham.
terhaps we need Borstal and National Service back again. Two years in the Army was good for a lot of us lads back then.
So sorry for Mr Williams and his birds. If they catch the cretins I hope they do some hard time. However, I doubt it.
I'm 83. We had some rough areas in Blackburn when I was young, but there was nothing like this. We all had very little. No one had a car. Very few bikes. Old folks could walk the streets without being mugged. Never saw any vandalism. An occasional punch up by drunks outside a pub was the worst we saw. Bobbies were respected. Where did that society go to ? Don't blame it on unemployment. Those folks came through the Great Depression and two wars. As some have said, the majority of the population are decent, law abiding people, but the percentage of young criminals seems to be growing, and it's every town, not just Padiham. terhaps we need Borstal and National Service back again. Two years in the Army was good for a lot of us lads back then. So sorry for Mr Williams and his birds. If they catch the cretins I hope they do some hard time. However, I doubt it. kenbro
  • Score: 0

12:30pm Sat 1 Dec 12

bigdee123 says...

cowardly scum. who havent got any balls between them. no doubt mob handed wimps. those pigeons will be that blokes life, that give him something to get up for every morning. we are now living in a society that has no respect for anything.
personally i would hunt them down and deal with them in the only method they understand.
cowardly scum. who havent got any balls between them. no doubt mob handed wimps. those pigeons will be that blokes life, that give him something to get up for every morning. we are now living in a society that has no respect for anything. personally i would hunt them down and deal with them in the only method they understand. bigdee123
  • Score: 0

7:23pm Sat 1 Dec 12

pwitch says...

Alien Your comment is not funny.
Alien Your comment is not funny. pwitch
  • Score: 0

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