Outraged supporters of the jailed ‘Morecambe Birdman’ have flocked to social media calling for him to be freed.
John Wilkinson was sent to prison for six weeks for breaching an ASBO forbidding him from feeding pigeons.
But readers are furious at the severity of the sentence and want him released.
The Facebook group of our sister paper The Morecambe Visitor has been inundated with messages backing the ‘Morecambe Birdman’, where 89,000 people read our story within 24 hours.
A public ‘bird feed’ is being planned for Saturday afternoon at 1.30pm at The Battery in Morecambe to show support for Mr Wilkinson, who was given repeated warnings for feeding flocks of pigeons outside his home and other parts of the district.
Milley Mummy Morrison said: “He is a lovely man...feeding the pigeons is a pain but the poor bloke is not hurting anyone!”
Becki Lufc Anderson said: ”It’s disgusting the way the justice system has handled this.”
Kelly Spurgeon said: “And they wonder why our prisons are overcrowded? Utterly pathetic.”
Rob McEwen said: “He broke his ASBO and so should be punished...but prison? The money it is going to cost to keep him in prison would have been better spent removing pigeons from hot spot areas.”
Georgina Thackeray from Herefordshire telephoned The Visitor to say: “I just can’t believe this has happened and that he’s even been given an ASBO in the first place. It’s madness.
“What example is this setting to our kids? Doing this to a man who cares for living things.”
Bill Johnson of Heysham wrote to The Visitor saying: “Surely our magistrates could have viewed this case with a little more compassion and sent him for assessment and treatment rather than jailing him.”
Others have defended the decision to jail Mr Wilkinson, of Cavendish Road, Morecambe.
David Rogerson said: “Pigeons are ferrel, they are vermin, they do not belong here. He has caused a nuisance for years.”
Phil Corris said: “Help has been given and refused from every department you could imagine, Feeding the pigeons to the tune of hundreds has brought a disease to not just animals but humans...if you live next to him, forget moving you’d have no chance of selling, so misery for all that surround him.”
Neighbours have been complaining to Lancaster City Council for years about the noise, droppings and disease caused by the enormous number of pigeons gathering to be fed.
Under the conditions of his Asbo, Mr Wilkinson was not allowed to feed any birds in his home or within 100 metres of his address; feed any birds in England and Wales outside of the exclusion zone unless the feeding takes place twice a day between the hours of 9.30am and 10.30am, then 3.30pm and 5pm, in a location that cannot be the same location in the morning and afternoon; and no more than half a kilo of bird seed to be fed to the birds at any one time; feed any birds in England and Wales outside the exclusion zone any other foodstuffs or bird food, except bird seed; aid, abet or incite others to feed any bird within England and Wales.
Mr Wilkinson was brought before Lancaster Magistrates’ Court on a count of breaching his Asbo on February 25, 2014.
This was the third time the council had had to start prosecuting proceedings in relation to his breach of the order.
Mr Wilkinson pleaded guilty.