Top cop gives up thin blue line to look after ‘small, white, furry animals’ in Eglish

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A former metropolitan police officer has given up the thin blue line in London to work with ‘small, white, furry animals’ in South Tyrone.

Carolyn Crooks, originally from Cooktown, was a police officer in London for 12 years, dealing with high profile cases.

Now she’s found a new purpose in life looking after 160,000 chickens at a poultry farm in Eglish.

Despite the demands of running the farm, one of the largest suppliers for Moy Park, life is a lot quieter for Carolyn.

A few years ago she met up again with former boyfriend and farmer Jeremy Hobson on a night out and they rekindled their romance. She said: “Jeremy and I went out in our 20s, but I went off to London to university and he stayed at home.

“We started to talk and that was that, really.

“When I initially came back home seven years ago I was working for our local council. But I took six months off work to help out when Jeremy’s mother died.

“I now work with small, white furry animals and no matter how busy it might get, it’s nothing like what I was used to in London.”

The couple feature in The Chicken People, a new three-part programme, which started on Wednesday night.

“Jeremy jokes that I’m the labourer and he’s the brains of the operation, but it really is his farm and it was his decision to start chicken farming years ago,” explained Carolyn.

“I do most of the admin work and the regular checks during the day, and Jeremy does most of the work at night, as the chickens are collected then.

“It took me a while to get used to chicken farming, but I’m proud when I see that the chickens are clean and healthy and are well looked after.”

The Chicken People is part of BBC Northern Ireland’s Taste North food season and goes behind the factory gates to a chicken processing plant.