Cumbrian woman and daughter on trial for feeding pigeons

Residents of a Cumbrian housing estate live in fear of 300 feral pigeons that dominate their lives, a court heard.

It is claimed a woman and her daughter feed the birds, causing hundreds to dive bomb neighbouring gardens and defecate on people, houses, cars and washing at Broadacres in High Harrrington, Workington.

Mildred Monica McIntosh, 77 and her daughter Janet Lorraine McIntosh, 48, could each face a fine of £20,000 if found guilty of failing to comply with an abatement notice served by Allerdale council under the Environmental Protection Act.

At West Cumbria Magistrates’ Court, next door neighbour Arthur McCullough, 69, who has lived in Broadacres for 43 years, produced a diary and photographs kept since the McIntoshes were ordered to stop feeding pigeons.

He said they had failed to follow the notice and added: “It can be morning, afternoon or midnight and they continue to feed the pigeons.

“They have blatantly flouted the order and they know I have seen them taking bags of seed and tipping it in their garden.

“During the summer I was woken up as early as 5.30am by pigeons walking and squawking on my bedroom roof.

“It is unbelievable and unbearable the number of pigeons flying around our once beautiful estate.

“There are as many as 300 just circling and defecating all over the area.”

The photographs showed bird faeces on his property but Valerie Hendren, defending, said none of the images were conclusive evidence that the McIntoshs had continued to feed the birds.

Thirteen residents gave evidence against the McIntoshes.

It is alleged that between July 7 and August 20 the pair put out bird food in their garden resulting in droppings and noise from pigeons, in contravention of the notice.

Next door neighbour David Ellison produced 71 photographs showing pigeons congregating on the McIntosh house as well as on neighbours’ homes.

They also showed pigeons circling the estate.

A four-minute video clip taken by Mr Ellison from his back garden showed the number of pigeons flying around the McIntosh house and feeding from bird tables.

Mr Ellison, who was lived in the estate for 29 years, was only released from hospital six weeks ago after suffering heart and kidney failure.

He said: “Whether I like the McIntoshes or not is irrelevant. I have complained about their antics for more than five years.

“It’s affecting our lives. My property is worthless. There’s no way I can put it on the market. I would love to leave but I can’t.

“It’s becoming increasingly more likely that I will have to give up driving.
“My wife Susan doesn’t drive so we will be stuck in Broadacres.”

David Drysdale, 80, described the noise of pigeons on his roof as an army scrabbling about above his head.

He said: “It’s only got worse since the abatement notice came into power.

“I don’t have a grudge against the McIntoshes. I’m not interested in them. I am not interested in living in some kind of Coronation Street style set-up.

“I would not like to hear from them again.”

Joan Crellin, who has lived on the estate for 26 years, said: “We never had any problems until the McIntoshes moved in. I get daunted when hundreds of pigeons are flying about. It frightens me.”

The trial continues.

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