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Supermarket U-turn over netting to prevent swallows nesting

A Norwich supermarket has been criticised for installing netting to stop migrating birds from nesting. Picture: Kate Blincoe

A Norwich supermarket has been criticised for installing netting to stop migrating birds from nesting. Picture: Kate Blincoe

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A supermarket has taken a U-turn over nets which would stop swallows nesting at a Norfolk store.

A Norwich supermarket has been criticised for installing netting to stop migrating birds from nesting. Picture: Kate BlincoeA Norwich supermarket has been criticised for installing netting to stop migrating birds from nesting. Picture: Kate Blincoe

Tesco came under intense criticism on Friday after customers spotted netting had been put up over trolleys at the Harford Bridge store to stop swallows nesting above them,.

The company said the nets were installed to address health and safety concerns over bird droppings falling onto trolleys, and they had sought advice from experts.

But customers, including TV presenter Jake Humphrey, reacted with anger.

MORE: ‘It is just cruel’ - Anger as Tesco installs netting to stop swallows nesting

Mr Humphrey tweeted: “Seriously @Tesco?!? Netting off swallow nesting sites in trolley shelters in Norwich. Experts say returning swallows will get caught and die. Take them down!!!!!”

But on Saturday Tesco replied to customers on Twitter and said: “We’ve listened to feedback from customers and are temporarily removing the nets above the trolley bay at our Norwich Harford Bridge Superstore.

“We are in discussions with a number of parties to identify other solutions that protect the swallows nesting near the trolley bays and ensure we maintain the highest health and safety standards for our customers.”

However some customers pointed out the netting was still up on Saturday afternoon and pointed to similar measures at the company’s Fakenham store.

RSPB East tweeted: “We are pleased to hear @Tesco have taken the decision to temporarily remove the netting from their Norwich Harford Bridge store. We will continue working with Tesco this week to try and ensure this is a permanent move that works for wildlife and celebrates swallows.”

Last year, the same store was at the centre of a police investigation, after allegations that a number of swallows’ nests were destroyed.

The destruction of the nests of wild birds is a crime under the Wildlife and Countryside Act but at the time Tesco said the damage was confined to a single nest and was done accidentally during attempts to clean the outdoor area at the superstore.

A spokesman at the time said: “Our store area is home to a number of birds and we take care to protect them.

“We have reminded all contractors and cleaners to take care near the nests.”

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