POLL: Scores of pigeons shot and ‘humanely killed’ in North Walsham cull

A controversial pigeon cull has finally taken place in North Walsham, killing scores of unwanted feathered residents.

The move, aimed at ridding the town centre of a growing health and mess nuisance, was carried out by authorised North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) officers in two early-morning swoops.

They destroyed a total of about 100 birds. Most were shot and the rest were netted and then humanely dispatched, according to a spokesman.

The council has not ruled out a further cull but is now working with North Walsham Chamber of Trade on a clutch of lesser deterrents aimed at keeping the town's pigeon problem under control,

News of the long-anticipated cull has been greeted with widespread approval by both North Walsham Town Council and chamber members, who supported a cull.

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Town councillors were outraged last spring after NNDC postponed its culling plans following an outcry from pigeon lovers, including Norwich woman Cynthia Roberts and Hingham-based animal sanctuary PACT, who offered to re-home birds caught by the council, or release them in the countryside.

Town councillors were even more furious seven months later when the district council admitted that not one bird had been caught.

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Nicholas Lee, chamber of trade vice chairman, said this week that the cull had made a definite difference.

'There has been an obvious drop in pigeons which everybody is happier with. Whatever the district council's done to get rid of them, we are pleased about it.

'The pigeon problem has grown over the last decade. They damage the buildings, they create a physical mess and a health hazard which wasn't there 10 years ago and shoppers notice it,' he said.

North Norfolk District Council carried out the cull in Market Place, behind buildings in the central area, and at the top end of Market Street where the birds were roosting.

Mr Lee said his members were now working closely with NNDC's environmental health department.

An NNDC spokesman said within the next month they hoped to trial the Bird Free gel, as used successfully at Sheringham's Mo museum, on the flat roof of the Break charity shop, in North Walsham Market Place, a notorious pigeon hot spot.

Mr Lee is also hoping that his Broadland Travel business and the Drugstore, diagonally across Market Place, will shortly be able to pilot new sonic deterrent boxes which issue sounds at frequencies pigeons find irritating.

Netting and spikes were already dotted along rooftops and signs throughout the town centre.

Mr Lee said: 'There's hardly anywhere now that hasn't got some sort of deterrent in place. We want to move them out - and we don't want them back.'

Meanwhile the search is continuing for a suitable central site to place a pigeon loft, where pigeons' eggs can be switched for dummies.

John Lee, NNDC deputy leader, said: 'I don't think we had any negative comments, when we first mooted the cull, from anyone living in the town but we got a fair bit of public condemnation from people in other parts of the country.

'It's a big problem in the town and we've to do something about it. We are putting a lot of time into making North Walsham a nice place to live and shop.'

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