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Hickling couple accused of anti social behaviour and threatened with eviction – because they feed garden birds

PUBLISHED: 07:56 11 February 2015 | UPDATED: 12:15 11 February 2015

Eric Goleby from Hickling who has been told by Victory Housing that he has to stop feeding birds in his garden.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Eric Goleby from Hickling who has been told by Victory Housing that he has to stop feeding birds in his garden. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A Hickling couple have been threatened with legal action and eviction – for feeding the birds in their garden.

Eric Goleby from Hickling who has been told by Victory Housing that he has to stop feeding birds in his garden.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYEric Goleby from Hickling who has been told by Victory Housing that he has to stop feeding birds in his garden. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Retired Eric and Sally Goleby have left mixed corn outside their bungalow on Barnfield Close for the 42 years they lived there.

But Victory Housing Trust, who own and manage the social housing, ordered the pair to stop because of damage caused to vehicles in the area.

Mr Goleby, 74, was told – in a letter entitled ‘anti-social behaviour case’ – that if they continue to feed the animals, they may face legal action, prosecution or loss of their tenancy.

A spokesman for Victory Housing said the complaint from a neighbour had been investigated and the case is now closed because no problems were found. He said Mr Goleby should have no fear when feeding the birds.

What to feed garden birds

During the winter, the RSPB say to put out food and water on a regular basis. In severe weather, feed twice daily.

And during the summer months, birds require high protein foods, especially while they are moulting.

There are different mixes for feeders and for bird tables and ground feeding. According to the bird charity, the better mixtures contain plenty of flaked maize, sunflower seeds, and peanut granules.

People should seed mixtures that have split peas, beans, dried rice or lentils. And any mixture containing green or pink lumps should also be avoided as these are dog biscuits, which can only be eaten when soaked.

Hygiene is important and people are urged to make sure bird feeders are clean and free from droppings or mouldy food.

But the tone of letters sent to people will now be reviewed by Victory Housing Trust because of the Goleby’s case.

But Mr Goleby, a former factory worker, who cares for his disabled wife Sally, 66, around the clock described the letter as “threatening” and “crazy”.

He said: “After living in Hickling all my life, this hurts. It’s not anti social. It’s a real privilege to be able to see the birds come to feed.

“Our life would be bare without the birds, we have always fed them throughout the years because we love wildlife.”

The letter accused Mr Goleby of throwing food waste into his and neighbouring gardens.

But he says he buys the feed from a pet shop in Stalham and puts it on the bird table and bird feeders, attracting species ranging from pigeons, to jackdaws, starlings to pheasants.

Charity the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said feeding garden birds is key to their survival during winter when food is scarce.

Do you have a story about the Broads area? Email rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772453

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