PHOTO GALLERY: Wild peacocks divide opinion in Ashwellthorpe

They scream in the early hours of the morning, pull up gardeners' flowers and show little respect for the Green Cross Code.

But these are not your usual vandals - they are a group of wild peacocks and they can not be tamed with an ASBO.

The gang of feral birds has been roaming the small village of Ashwellthorpe, near Wymondham, for more than five years.

The stunning bunch can often be seen in the summer months perched on top of domestic garages and sitting in gardens showing off their beautiful plumage in the sunshine.

But while some residents have embraced the peacocks' presence as a fun feature of the village, for others the novelty has worn off and some are even contemplating leaving the area on the back of many abrupt early morning wake up calls.

Gwen Doughty, who has lived at her home in Greenwood Close for 33 years, said: 'They make such a noise and destroy the gardens. They woke me at six o'clock this morning. Sometimes it's four o'clock. I have to get up - I cannot stand it for long.

'The gentleman across the road put some new plants in on Tuesday and they ate them straight away. People are seriously thinking of moving because they've had enough.'

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She added that about seven peacocks had been spotted regularly this year but there had been more in the past.

The distinctive high-pitched cry of a peacock can often be heard during their mating season, which usually lasts from April to September.

A fellow Greenwood Close resident, who asked not be named, said he had tried to remove objects in his garden which could be an attractive perch for the birds.

He said: 'They used to sit on our garage and from about six in the morning they just kept calling. Last year you could be talking to someone in the garden and you wouldn't hear them because of the noise - that's how bad it was so this year we tried to make sure it did not happen again.'

He added that another neighbour had been forced to cover their garden in chicken wire to protect their plants.

But one villager said they enjoyed the peacocks' company.

'They are noisy and when there was nine last year you could hear them the other end of the village but this year it's not so bad.

'They are very beautiful and I think they earn their keep by displaying their lovely feathers.'

A spokesman for South Norfolk Council said it would be difficult for staff to move on the birds as they did not belong to an identified owner which action could be taken against.

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