Neighbours relieved after bird-feeding ban

John Coots has been banned from feeding birds and wildlife at his home and surronding area, his neighbours claim the ban is justified
John Coots has been banned from feeding birds and wildlife at his home and surronding area, his neighbours claim the ban is justified

Fed-up neighbours of a Houghton Regis man banned from feeding birds in his garden have spoken of their relief.

Last week the Gazette revealed that 75-year-old John Coots, of Dunstable Road, had been served an injunction after complaints from families nearby.

Mr Coots said he had been giving food to birds at his property since he moved there 13 years ago and that he felt he was being victimised.

The exclusive story caused a frenzy on social media, with some people defending the pensioner on Facebook and Twitter and others criticising his actions.

One neighbour said: “It has been a long time coming. He doesn’t feed just birds, that wouldn’t be a problem. He leaves meat in the garden, which attracts vermin, seagulls and foxes.

“The seagulls and other birds cause a lot of mess on our cars, property and our washing. We have had enough.

“It is not fair on us, we have to deal with the mess and the noise from the animals he feeds.”

Central Beds councillor Brian Spurr said: “The background is that Mr Coots had been placing heaped trays of bread, raw meat and leftovers onto his front drive encouraging pigeons and seagulls to swarm the area.

“Reports we received stated that at any one time there could be as many as 60-80 birds fighting for the food.

“As well as leaving a huge amount of faeces behind, they also dropped bits of food over the rest of the street and created a significant amount of noise nuisance for people living nearby.

“Neighbours were also understandably worried that this food would attract rats and mice.

“Since we got involved with Mr Coots in 2011 we have done everything we can to try and help him understand the impact his actions and behaviour were having on his neighbours and those living nearby.

“Unfortunately our efforts have not solved the problem and the damage to people’s homes and property continued, so we have had to take action.”

Cllr Spurr added: “In October last year Mr Coots agreed in court to a three-year undertaking not to feed the birds or encourage the birds, including pigeons and seagulls, to come within the front and back of his property, save for one bird feeder no more than 18 inches in length and no more than three inches in diameter to be hung in one tree in his back garden only.

“This initial action did have a positive effect, however in December we started to receive further complaints which led us to take this latest course of action.”

Mr Coots said: “I think my neighbours are complaining over nothing.”