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Pigeon keeper Alan Pidgley fined for failing to act on nuisance birds

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A HORDLE pigeon keeper was told to pay nearly £1,000 in fines and costs after he admitted breaking an order to quieten a flock living in his garden.

Retired street cleaning supervisor Alan Pidgley appeared at Southampton Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to comply with a noise abatement notice issued by New Forest District Council in December last year.

Mr Pidgley, who describes himself as an animal lover, was fined £500 and ordered to pay £400 toward NFDC’s costs, as well as a £50 court charge.

Alan Pidgley was fined
Alan Pidgley was fined

He confirmed he would now be looking to rehome some or all of the pigeons.

He said: “They are my love and joy but the council will continue to fine me and take me to court if I keep them. I am very fond of all my animals, it is a wonderful hobby for me and something that I have enjoyed doing in my retirement.

“I am currently looking around to see where they can go but at the moment I cannot answer that.

“If I cannot rehome them I’m not sure what I will do.”

As reported in the A&T, Mr Pidgley and his wife Tara stepped in to rehome the birds around two-and-a-half years ago after their former owner became unwell.

The couple, who also keep rescue chickens, tortoises and rabbits, converted a shed at their Pinewood Road bungalow to become the birds’ new night-time home, but allowed them out to fly around the neighbourhood during the day.

They were initially contacted by NFDC last autumn following complaints from a neighbour. Mr Pidgley was asked to take action to minimise the noise, including moving the birds to a different part of their garden.

Alan is now having to find a home for his pigeons
Alan is now having to find a home for his pigeons

After failing to comply fully, Mr Pidgley was served with a noise abatement notice on 15th December 2020 giving him eight weeks to resolve the issues.

But the pigeons continued to cause a disturbance, and in May Mr Pidgley was asked to attend NFDC’s Appletree Court HQ in Lyndhurst for an interview under caution relating to his failure to comply with the noise abatement notice between 18th and 30th March.

A spokesperson for NFDC said after the court hearing in Southampton: “The magistrates considered the evidence, the impact of the noise on the complainant and the fact that the defendant has since reduced the number of birds kept and sentenced the defendant to a total cost of £950.

“NFDC officers will monitor the situation as the magistrates reminded the defendant that the notice still stands and that further breaches could result in further penalties.”

The spokesperson added: “When the environmental protection team receive a noise complaint from a member of the public they initially suggest they may wish to discuss the matter first with their neighbour, who may not be aware there is a problem.

“This often resolves many of the complaints. If this is not effective, they are asked to complete a diary sheet to provide details of the type of noise, when and how often it occurs and how it affects them.

“To be a nuisance, the noise must be causing substantial and unreasonable interference at the complainant’s property. If there is evidence which suggests there could be a noise nuisance they will make contact with the source of the noise and give advice to try to resolve the problem informally.

“Formal enforcement action is always the last resort but it is required on occasions to abate problems and protect the health and wellbeing of our residents.”

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