Two boys arrested and bailed after animals killed at west London college

Two children have been arrested and released on bail after police received reports that “several animals had been killed” at a college in west London.

A 12-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy were arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and burglary after an incident at Capel Manor College’s Gunnersbury Park campus, according to the Metropolitan Police.

The force said: “On Sunday, 25 February we received a report that several animals had been killed and animal closures had been damaged at Capel Manor College.

“Officers visited the scene and viewed CCTV footage. A forensic examination was also carried out.”

The college said a barn owl has gone missing after the incident and remains missing (Capel Manor College/PA)
The college said a barn owl has gone missing after the incident and remains missing (Capel Manor College/PA)

The two boys were arrested as a result of enquiries and have been bailed.

Police urged anyone with information to call 101 quoting CAD 1639/25Feb.

The college said in a statement: “On Sunday 25 February, Capel Manor College’s Gunnersbury Park Campus experienced a break-in that resulted in damage to some of the animal areas, and sadly some animals died.

“The safety of our staff, students, animals and community is of utmost importance to us. A team is onsite co-ordinating with the police in their ongoing investigation, and additional security staff have also been deployed at the campus.”

The institution described itself as “London’s environmental college”, offering young people and adults the opportunity to help take care of its estates, gardens, farm and zoos.

Following the incident, teaching at the west London campus was held online on Monday before in-person learning resumed on-site on Tuesday.

Principal Peter Brammall said: “This has been a terrible episode and my thanks go out to the dedicated team of staff who worked tirelessly over Sunday and Monday to deal with and restore the devastation left by the intruders.

“Our campus is now back open, student lessons are back on track and the team is working with our partners to bring in new animals over the next few weeks to replace those that were sadly lost.”

The college said its “much-loved” barn owl, Shiraz, escaped as a result of the incident and remains missing.

Appealing for information on the bird’s whereabouts, the college described Shiraz as a “white barn owl with a blue ring on her left ankle” and urged anyone reporting a sighting to call its emergency 24-hour line on 077135 68110 and the RSCPA at 0300 1234 999.