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Barking Abbey bird-feeding ban gets feathers flying

PUBLISHED: 09:44 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:34 17 February 2017

Barking Abbey bird signs

Barking Abbey bird signs

Archant

Bird-fanciers are clashing with other residents and the Council over the borough’s most historic site.

Passers-by at Barking Abbey often throw leftover bread to the birds, but this has encouraged such large flocks of seagulls and pigeons that it has been deemed a nuisance.

Recently, signs went up warning that anyone leaving out food near the ruins could face a hefty fine for littering – which could be as high as £2,500.

Fixed penalty notices of £75 could be issued on the spot.

Whilst many agree with the ban, it has others spitting feathers.

Harry Hall said: “This is disgusting. It’s a free world, since when was it a crime to feed birds? It’s been a English tradition for years and years.”

Meanwhile the appropriately-named Tessa Sparrow pointed out that the bread could become an even bigger problem once digested: “Barking Abbey ruins and the church are beautiful, historic features of our town.

“There are far too many feral pigeons and gulls congregating in the area, and the corrosive nature of their faeces will damage the church and the ruins.”

She added: “The Council should be applauded for being proactive in this instance.”

A council spokesperson said: “St Margaret’s Church and Abbey Ruins are the jewels of the borough’s heritage and as such we look to ensure the area is pristine.

“Unfortunately bread left around to feed pigeons has been attracting pests, including rats.

“As a result of this and in response to residents’ concerns, we have had to resort to signs asking people not to feed the birds.”

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