Feed the birds... and get and ASBO

The "Bird Man" of Morecambe could soon have his wings clipped after calls were made to hit him with an Anti Social Behaviour Order.

Morecambe MP Geraldine Smith has backed demands for an ASBO to be placed on John Wilkinson, who lives in Cavendish Street, Morecambe, because hundreds of wild pigeons flock to feed at his house throughout the day.

Mr Wilkinson, who daily lays out bread for the pigeons, has enraged neighbours who say the birds make too much mess, nest in their roofs and attract vermin, but he says they are overreacting.

Mr Wilkinson's neighbour, Sharon Knight, said: "My kids are not allowed to play in the street any more, the pigeons are everywhere. There are also rats that are attracted to the food. He is making it miserable for us."

Sharon's husband, Gary, added: "You should come here at feeding time. It's like that Alfred Hitchcock film, The Birds."

Building contractor, and fellow neighbour Julian Iluk added: "The gutters have to be cleaned out at least once a month or else they fill up with pigeon muck. When he comes out to feed them they fly on to his shoulder. He looks like Long John Silver!"

But Mr Wilkinson is unrepentant: "Spite and malice is making them do this. These are wild birds and at this time of year they need someone to feed them. It is not a problem. If people took no notice and got on with their own business there would be nothing to worry about. As far as the pigeon muck is concerned, the rain washes it away."

MP Geraldine Smith supports the calls for an ASBO to be placed on Mr Wilkinson. She said: "I am writing to the appropriate justice minister to make sure the law allows it. I believe Mr Wilkinson is quite intelligent but very eccentric. I have had many complaints from people now and he has become known as The Bird Man."

Morecambe police officer PC Andy Currant said: "We would not rule out an ASBO on Mr Wilkinson. We would, however, hope to deal with this through alternative routes.

RSPB officer, Jarrod Sneyd, said: "Pigeons are pretty hardy creatures. There is a lot of food for them to find elsewhere in Morecambe. He could be encouraging a large and unsustainable population to breed."

A Lancaster council spokesman said: "We have been aware of the man's activities for a number of years. We are looking into using the new anti-social behaviour legislation for persistent feeders of this type. We advise anybody feeding feral pigeons to consider the problems of fouling and nuisance and the risk of diseases."