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Pensioner threatened with fines for feeding birds in her own garden backed by MPs but council vows to double down

A pensioner who was threatened with fines by a council after feeding birds in her own garden has been showered with support from MPs and campaigners.

Anne Seago, 97, has been accused of anti-social behaviour by a neighbour who complained about the presence of the birds.

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They said: “Failure to comply with a Community Protection Notice (CPN) is a criminal offence.

“The council has acted in response to complaints from other residents in the neighbourhood.”

However, MPs and campaign groups have now urged the local authority to back down.

Dennis Read, of campaign group Silver Voices, said: “They are taking a hard-line approach which is not appropriate. To suggest that a 97-year-old would be hauled before a magistrates’ court and possibly imprisoned if she continues with this behaviour is absolutely ridiculous.

“This isn’t criminal behaviour in anybody’s book and I think it’s developing into a PR disaster for the council.”

Read called on the council in Lancashire to instead “mediate” on “what is essentially a neighbour dispute”.


The neighbour made a complaint about pigeons and seagulls in Anne Seago’s garden which were causing a ‘nuisance’Getty

Conservative MP Sir John Hayes said: “It’s very sad when you think of an old lady engaged in a simple pleasure being pursued by officialdom in this way.

“It does seem odd they would seek to interfere in what someone does in a private space, engaging in a hobby that millions of people enjoy, including myself, which encourages birdlife.

Seago lives with her son Alan, 77, in her home in Staining, near Blackpool.

The retired music teacher, who has lived at her home since 1982, says she enjoys spending her days watching birds eat from her bird table.

In a letter addressed to Seago from earlier this month, Flyde Council said that her behaviour is “unreasonable” and negatively impacting other residents.

The council advised her to stop placing food outside for the birds and cautioned that if she ignored the notice, she would not be given another warning before being punished.

Fylde Council said: “This behaviour is unreasonable and is having a determinantal effect on neighbouring residents. Birds roosting and defecating is a public health nuisance and has the potential to cause disease.”

Bird feeder (stock)
Seago has been told to stop feeding the birds in her garden (not pictured)Flickr

The 97-year-old told the Mail Online: “I am stressed out. My blood pressure is up and it was perfect the last time.

“After all this began, I have started having problems with my hands and legs. I’m not saying all this has caused it but I can’t be sure. I want to live to 100.”

Her son, a retired cars salesman, says he fears the conflict is putting an unnecessary strain on his mother’s health.

He told Mail Online: “The council letter is menacing. This will finish her off. If we get fined, we are prepared to go to court.”

“I don’t believe the council’s claim. At the most there’s been 50 or 60 pigeons but normally there’s a couple of dozen at most. They don’t nest round here.

“There are all sorts of birds who come to feed. There’s even a heron knocking about. And we have no pigeon muck on our property which there would be if there were so many.”

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