FOXES roaming a Batford estate are “terrifying” the whole community, according to one resident whose hens were attacked and ripped to shreds in her back garden.

Five weeks ago Sara High's eight-year-old daughter was forced to see the left overs of her beloved battery hens which she had taken in from a Letchworth breeder.

Neighbours also told the Review residents in the area are constantly “scared” for the welfare of their children, but face an on-going battle with the foxes.

Sara, of Finley Road, said: “I only had the hens for about 23 hours and they were dead. I was with Angel when we went into the garden and there were feathers everywhere.

“She was hysterical. My neighbours even saw the hens being taken away in the mouth of a fox and this was only at 3.30pm in the afternoon.

“We know that they live in urban areas, but we are just fed up - now something really needs to be done and the council need to do something to help. Everyone is terrified and we just want to be able to get on with our lives.”

St Albans District Council has told Sara foxes are not an issue it deals with.

She has since bought two more hens, Fluffy and Isa, which are being kept in a pen in her back garden.

Sara added: “They're supposed to be free range, not couped up in the cage. I laid out new grass especially for them, but I can't let them out in case they get eaten.”

The residents say the problem has gradually got worse over the last three years and they can sometimes see up to 15 roaming the streets at one time.

Margaret Jarvis, 31, of Tallents Crescent, says she is also suffering from the constant howling.

She said: “This is a really nice, quiet area and when something violent like this happens it's upsetting for all of us.

“We don't get much trouble around here, it is safe and the foxes are more of a nuisance than the kids that hang around the streets.

“The howling just goes on incessantly, it's just getting ridiculous now.”

The district council has said it does not operate a fox control policy. On its website, residents are advised to call for pest control if they need advice or help, and states “the council does not provide a service to eradicate foxes”.