FOUR 'worthless' hens have been stolen from a coop based on a Harefield allotment site.

The 34 year-old owner, who asked not to be named, is appealing for their safe return although admits he holds 'little hope' of ever seeing them again.

The hens were being kept on the Hill End Allotment site in Harefield, and were visible to walkers who used to regularly pass the site on the public footpath.

In fact they were a big talking point for passers-by who regularly would comment on the rarity of keeping chickens and hens nowadays.

The stolen birds were discovered on Thursday March 11 when the owner went down to feed them.

The owner said: "At first I thought animals had got in, but the wooden roof of the hut had been removed.

"I have not heard of this happening before, it is the sort of thing which would have happened 50 years ago.

"When I tell them people laugh about it because it is so unbelievable.

"The birds are ex-battery hens, and really scrawny, there is no way they could be mistaken for rare hens.

"They are not worth anything."

Despite being nearly two years old, the four hens, which are red and orange in colour, did not have names, except for one.

"One had a limp as it had hurt its leg so I called it Peggy because of it's peg leg.

"I've enjoyed owning them, people always stop by and talk about them, but I don't suppose I will ever see them again."

Police are appealing for information on the theft, and are urging anybody who can help to get in touch.

The number to call is Sergeant Chris Ridge on 02082461854.