YOUTHS who killed more than 100 chicks by hitting them with bricks and rocks have been handed cautions.

The four teenagers, who at the time of the offence were branded “sick and inhumane” by detectives, were given reprimands for the attack, which took place at Knuzden Brook Poultry Farm in Haslingden Old Road.

In the early evening of April 12, the gang forced their way into two pens at the family run farm before attacking the three-day old birds with masonry.

They then escaped over fields and towards the Shadsworth estate after being disturbed by the farm manager.

A 17-year-old boy involved was handed a final warning by Lancashire police.

Three other boys, aged 17, 16 and 15, were given police reprimands and warned about their future conduct.

All those involved were from Blackburn.

Police added that as part of their boys’ punishment, they were forced to face those affected by their actions.

A spokesman said: “Those involved were required to take part in a restorative justice meeting with their parents, the RSPCA and the farmers.”

Reprimands and final warnings are used for youngsters between the ages of ten and 18.

Anyone who offends after a final warning will be dealt with by the courts Prior to the incident, the farm had been subject to several break-ins, with washing equipment stolen on one occasion.

Knuzden Brook Poultry rears around 125,000 chickens at any one time.

They are kept for eight weeks in large pens at a constant 30C before being sold on to meat suppliers.