The RSPCA are caring for four unruly chickens, after they were discovered abandoned in a cul-de-sac in Harlow.

Three cockerels and one hen were found in Rundells estate, Harlow, and the RSPCA believe that they had been abandoned.

Residents in the area first noticed the birds on Boxing day, but did not realise they had been left without care until days later, when the RSPCA were called.

The RSPCA officers who attended the scene had to chase the four birds around the estate before finally managing to bag them and take them back to the RSPCA centre.

Lucy Fackerell, an animal collection officer, said: "These chickens certainly gave us a run around so we thought it only right to name them after Chicken Run characters.

"They were scurrying around the maze of residential streets and it took two of us - plus some neighbours - to play tag team trying to round them up using boards and nets.

"They had been causing quite a bit of chaos around this residential area - not somewhere they could have survived on their own for very long.

"One neighbour said the 'cock-a-doodle-doo' had become her unofficial alarm clock.

"We can't be sure what happened but it seems likely they were abandoned.

"This happens more often than you would hope with cockerels became people don't always realise that they can be noisy and require a lot of time and proper resource to care for them properly.

"However, with the right home and owner, they can make great pets and we hope Babs, Rocky, Mac and Fowler will be just that."

Anyone with any information about how the chickens came to be left in this way should call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018. If no information about a responsible owner can be found, the birds will soon be available for rehoming.