Feathers get ruffled over feeding ducks

IT is an English tradition similar to afternoon tea, village cricket and eating fish and chips by the sea.

Craig Robinson

IT is an English tradition similar to afternoon tea, village cricket and eating fish and chips by the sea.

But people in Westleton, near Leiston, have been told they could face a fine of up to �2,500 if they try to feed the ducks on the local pond.

The five notices were put up by Suffolk Coastal District Council following complaints by villagers of a rat problem.

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They ask people not to feed the ducks because it could attract vermin and that the maximum fine for littering is �2,500.

The parish council is unhappy with the tone of the signs, which it believes to be “unnecessarily harsh”, and is now trying to replace them with some of its own.

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Chairman Colin Fisher said: “The tone of the signs is very severe - we did not approve that particular style of notice.

“More importantly there is no sign of ownership, no indication that they have been put up by Suffolk Coastal District Council.

“It seems unnecessarily harsh wording. A lot of people have taken their children down there to feed the ducks for many years, it's an English tradition.”

Mr Fisher said the parish council would now be putting up their own signs that would encourage people not to over feed the ducks.

“If people stick to bread that's fine because more often than not they will stop and watch as it is eaten,” he said. “However some people have been throwing grain on to the ground and this has been left by the ducks. That was our main concern because it has led to an increase in rats.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said �2,500 was the statutory maximum fine for littering.

“Around 12 months ago the parish council contacted us because they were concerned with rats around the pond,” he continued. “We worked with them and discussed what we could do to help.

“It was agreed that some rat treatment would be put down and also that we would put up some signs encouraging people not to over feed the ducks. The wording was agreed with the parish council.”

He said that the rat problem had improved over recent months and that if this continued throughout the summer then two or three of the signs would be removed.

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