ASBO threat for feeding the pigeons

SHOPPERS who insist on feeding pigeons in an Essex town centre have been warned they could be hit with anti-social behaviour orders. The crackdown is in response to the increasing number of the birds in Chelmsford town centre sparking fears they could pose a risk to people's health.

SHOPPERS who insist on feeding pigeons in an Essex town centre have been warned they could be hit with anti-social behaviour orders.

The crackdown is in response to the increasing number of the birds in Chelmsford town centre sparking fears they could pose a risk to people's health.

The area outside the High Chelmer Shopping Centre is where the pigeons parade and it is felt the population will keep growing if people continue feeding them.

Signs are to go up warning not to feed the pigeons and people could be fined £75 for dropping food or even be given an ASBO if they are persistent offenders.


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Chelmsford's approach follows that of another Essex town, Clacton, which hit a pensioner with an ASBO last summer to prevent her feeding pigeons because rats were being attracted to the seafront.

Although seen as harmless by some, pigeons carry a disease known as Psittacosis which can be passed to humans, leading to pneumonia and can even be fatal.

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Their droppings can also contain salmonella - especially concerning because of the number of cafés which have outside seating near to the shopping centre.

It is believed just two people are consistently feeding the pigeons with others leaving crumbs from their lunch for the birds.

Chelmsford Borough Council said it is also concerned people might slip on droppings when it has been raining and hope by cutting the food supply the birds will be forced to move elsewhere to eat.

Mark Ball, environmental services manager at the council, said ASBOs were a “last resort” but confirmed they were a possibility.

He said: “The pigeons pose potential health risks, can cause damage to buildings, and there is also the nuisance element from the excrement.

“What we are trying to do is prevent the pigeon population growing to the extent that it becomes a real problem. This can easily be achieved if people don't litter with food waste or feed the birds.

“High Chelmer shopping centre noted an increase in population and we are helping them to control the situation so that it doesn't become a substantial issue.”

Mick McDonagh, the High Chelmer shopping centre manager said: “As far as I am concerned the pigeons are a pest and nuisance in that area and have caused thousands of pounds of damage.

“They have started to encroach into the malls and then they feel frightened and trapped.

“We would rather not have them in the food court and have people having something in their tea and coffee other than milk.

“We are asking the public not to feed them so they move on to their natural feeding areas.”

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