Crowing cockerels could land OAP in court

IT is a noise that has shaken generations of families from their slumber - but the early-morning sound of crowing cockerels in one Anglian village could now lead to a court case.

IT is a noise that has shaken generations of families from their slumber - but the early-morning sound of crowing cockerels in one Anglian village could now lead to a court case.

For the last few years a group of chickens have made themselves at home in the gardens of residents of Stokesby, near Yarmouth.

But the dawn chorus provided by the male birds has upset some villagers who have complained to Yarmouth Borough Council about the traditional countryside din.

Roger Popay was shocked to find a letter from the council saying he could be breaching the Environmental Protection Act 1990 by allowing the birds to roost in a tree in his Mill Road garden.


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Mr Popay has been told he could end up in court because of the complaints about the “early-morning noise from roaming chickens”.

If he feeds or provides shelter to the birds he could be prosecuted if they disrupt people's sleep and prevent residents from the peaceful enjoyment of their property.

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The council has also given him a log book to note down any noises the cockerels make.

Mr Popay, who has lived in Stokesby for 34 years, says he cannot understand how he can be responsible for the action of the birds which have roamed freely around the village for the last few years.

He said: “No one knows where they came from and who they belong to. They are not my birds and they are part of village life.

“You cannot stop a cockerel from crowing. They are part of the countryside.”

One of Mr Popay's neighbours, Joan Traveller, said: “I do not understand how anyone in the countryside can complain about the noises cockerels make. What next - cows making too much noise?”

On the council's website a section on the Environmental Protection Act 1990 details what may happen if noise complaints about loud birds are received.

It says: “Fortunately, most complaints are resolved informally, but if problems persist, the council has powers to formally address the issues. Occasionally perpetrators may end up in court and the council may step in to do certain works.”

A borough council officer has also visited Mr Popay to discuss the noise matter and provide advice on the problem.

Mr Popay said the ideal solution would be for someone to collect the birds and provide them with a new home.

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