.     Almost 400 caged birds to be used for game shooting have been freed by suspected animal rights activists in Sundridge, Kent.

The pens’ roofs were forced open and about 380 birds were able to fly away from the Chevening Estate and escape their fate.

“Between Monday, 7 October at 8pm and Tuesday, 8 October at 9pm, the roof of some game pens on property off Chevening Road were damaged allowing birds to escape,” said a Kent Police spokesman.

“We are not ruling out the possibility of it having been carried out by animal rights activists.”

The Chevening Estate is state-owned and shared as a weekend residence by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick CLegg and Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The shoot and bird enclosures are sub-let to a tenant.

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