Devastation as fire kills 159 pigeons in Sunderland suspected arson attack

Over 150 pigeons have been killed in a suspected arson attack at an allotment, devastating an 80-year-old man who has spent most of his life looking after them.

George Collinson, from Sunderland, has tended to the allotment for 60 years but has been left devastated as 159 of his treasured pigeons perished, including some chicks.

Fire crews were called to Corporation Road in Hendon in the early hours of Wednesday 26 July and police are currently investigating the incident as arson. No people were injured.

Mr Collinson said he was alerted to the fire at 5:45am but by the time he arrived the damage was already done.

"A kid who owns an allotment across the road came and banged on my door," he said. "I was ready to come up to the garden. He said 'it's all gone'. I came up but it was all away.

"It's a lifetime of work."

Mr Collinson's daughter Mandy Hixon has said the pigeons were her dad's life. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Just one pigeon survived the blaze and has remained around the allotment throughout the day hoping to return to its shed which has burnt down.

Mr Collinson's daughter, Mandy Hixon said the pigeons were her dad's life and he has tended to them for as long as she can remember.

"We are absolutely devastated," she said. "My whole life the pigeons have been my dad's life. It's not just his hobby it is his life.

"Everyday, 365 days a year, he gets up and comes along here. It could be six feet of snow and he doesn't lie in bed. It's what gets him up in the morning.

"It is just devastating. I can't put into words how we all feel."

Ms Hixon has said that she hopes they can try to rebuild the pigeon shed when the emotions of the fire are less raw.

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