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Horror as yobs smear ketchup on pigs and set fire to Mudchute Farm on Isle of Dogs

PUBLISHED: 10:00 01 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:00 01 October 2020

Biggest urban city farm in Europe... but Mudchute on Isle of Dogs in the shadow of Canary Wharf is being targeted by mindless vandals. Picture: Trip Adviser

Biggest urban city farm in Europe... but Mudchute on Isle of Dogs in the shadow of Canary Wharf is being targeted by mindless vandals. Picture: Trip Adviser

Trip Adviser

Sick morons have set fire to part of Europe’s biggest city farm on the Isle of Dogs and spread ketchup on some of its animals to look like blood.

Smoking remains... security alert after arson attack at urban city farm. Picture: Mudchute FarmSmoking remains... security alert after arson attack at urban city farm. Picture: Mudchute Farm

They rampaged through the 34-acres of Mudchute Farm where 100 sheep, pigs and horses are cared for.

The farm in the shadow of Canary Wharf had to cordon off part of the land to clean the animals and disinfect fencing because of the threat of Covid contamination.

Now worried neighbours have clubbed together to get professional security patrols to protect the farm at night and have started an online “go fund me” page to cover the cost of beating the yobs.

“Some have attempted to set fire to the farm every night and have covered all the pigs in ketchup,” neighbour Lucy Brown told the East London Advertiser.

“It has only been luck that the farm hasn’t caught fire. People saw smoke in time and were able to call the fire brigade.”

They have contacted a security firm which has offered to run regular dog patrols by police-trained officers at cost price.

Sheepish visit... Mayor of Tower Hamlets on visit to Mudchute during apprentices recruitment drive. Picture: LBTHSheepish visit... Mayor of Tower Hamlets on visit to Mudchute during apprentices recruitment drive. Picture: LBTH

An estimated £12,000 is needed every year to keep the measures going.

But the farm doesn’t have the funds, especially with the pandemic which has led to staff being furloughed.

So the kind-hearted neighbours set up their own GoFundMe page.

Farm manager Tom Davis said: “We had lots of anti-social behaviour from Sunday night like squirting ketchup everywhere and on our pigs, setting fire to tree branches on the nature trail and trying to set light to a wooden rubbish bin that failed.

“A whole area has had to be sectioned off with pigs being distressed and having to be washed and the fences needing to be disinfected.”

One of the staff and a volunteer who live close by spotted Sunday’s fire in time and managed to put out the flames. The fire brigade at Millwall was also called out.

Heritage on the farm... restored wartime ack-ack gun similar to those defending Millwall Docks from Luftwaffe air raids during the Blitz, now an attraction at Mudchute. Picture: Mike BrookeHeritage on the farm... restored wartime ack-ack gun similar to those defending Millwall Docks from Luftwaffe air raids during the Blitz, now an attraction at Mudchute. Picture: Mike Brooke

“I find this extremely disheartening,” farmer Tom added. “What’s worse is this blatant lack of respect in the current climate with staff still furloughed, running the farm with a smaller team and an unsure financial future.”

Police have been in contact with the farm, but limited resources and budget cuts mean a private security firm has had to be called in.

The farm sadly has a history of vandalism going back 12 years. Yobs set light to 10 tonnes of hey and compost, a wooden fence, trees and grass in the summer of 2008. Youths seen in Millwall Park were suspected, reported in the Advertiser at the time. But none of the farm animals were affected.

Mudchute today is a vital part of the Isle of Dogs community, open daily for the public to pet the animals in the pens and stables. It runs a children’s nursery and educational programmes including an equine therapy course.

A key attraction is its wartime heritage displays depicting how East End families lived during the Blitz and a massive, restored ack-ack gun that former farm trust chairman Mike Barraclough located and had restored, identical to the anti-aircraft guns defending the Millwall Docks against Luftwaffe air-raids.

All this, yet the brainless yobs wantonly target this unique community asset. It badly needs wellwishers to support the Mudchute Farm GoFundMe page.


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