Poison claim in St Neots bird feeding row

RAT poison was laid in the garden of a family of bird lovers at the centre of a neighbourhood dispute.

RAT poison was laid in the garden of a family of bird lovers at the centre of a neighbourhood dispute.

John and Julie Hamilton, of Flint Way, Eynesbury, said that they have been putting bird food in their front garden for just over a year but said some neighbours claimed the birds are causing a nuisance and that the food is attracting vermin.

The situation took a sinister turn when rat poison was discovered in the Hamilton’s garden.

Both the police and environmental health officers were called to deal with the situation.

The Hunts Post has received a number of e-mails about the “nuisance” but it is the Hamiltons who have been issued with an anti-social behaviour log by police to record incidents against them.

One anonymous e-mail read: “For the past four weeks we have been enduring these neighbours putting out food on the tree in their front garden, trays on the floor and two trestle tables with food on them, which have been inviting crows, starlings, seagulls and other big birds into our street and on our roofs, which has led to the birds dropping their food and their droppings all over our cars. It got to a point where a neighbour did a leafleting campaign to all the neighbours in our street asking us to phone our local council to complain.”

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Mr Hamilton said they had put more food out recently to help birds with chicks, which are now flying the nest and have resulted in a temporary increase in bird numbers.

Mr Hamilton said: “One person is spear-heading the campaign against us. Last week, somebody put rat poison in the road. The police were called and samples of the poison were taken.”

He explained that he and his wife had received advice from Huntingdonshire District Council’s environmental health officers who advised not leaving food on the ground.

“The officer had no problem whatsoever with the food, he just wanted to see it raised off the ground, which we have done.”

Mrs Hamilton said: “This is getting out of hand. It has been absolutely horrendous.”

She continued: “I religiously sweep away everything that is left every evening and once a week I powerwash not only my property but the pavement and road in front of our house because I am conscious of keeping the area clean.”

A police spokesman confirmed that they attended the Hamilton home last Tuesday.

She said: “We were called at 3.15pm to Flint Way after someone reported that rat poison had been placed outside their house in the garden. The person was concerned because they feed a lot of birds. The officers gave the residents an anti-social behaviour log to record any incidents against them.”

She added: “One more call was made recently in relation to someone at the property feeling intimidated. They didn’t want the police to attend, but wanted to log the incident.”

An HDC said: “We have received complaints about a resident of a property on Flint Way putting, what is reported as, ‘excessive amounts’ of food out for the wild birds.

“There is no law that restricts the feeding of birds but if this gives rise to conditions that are deemed to be prejudicial to health or a statutory nuisance, such as attracting vermin, we have certain powers and duties to require the destruction of the rats and mice or any other actions we deem appropriate.”