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Vagrants in Exeter are eating pigeons – but not everyone’s as happy as they should be

Feral pigeons in city centres are vermin. The good news is that homeless people in Exeter have taken it upon themselves to rid the city of these pests by eating them. But not everyone in the city is pleased that vagrants are both cleansing the city and beefing up for the coming winter on a diet of cheap protein.

Devon and Cornwall police are investigating. Police support community officer (PCSO) Sarah Giles has tweeted: “While doing the round of #sidwell street #exeter I have had news of #pigeons being captured for food. We will be looking into this.” Why? What crime has been committed?  Police do say it could be a case of causing the animals “unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act 2006”.

But are wild pigeons, aka rock doves, protected? The Act states:

An animal is a “protected animal” for the purposes of this Act if—
(a) it is of a kind which is commonly domesticated in the British Islands,
(b) it is under the control of man whether on a permanent or temporary basis, or
(c) it is not living in a wild state.

Pigeons are covered by section (a) but legitimate pest control is not regarded as causing unnecessary suffering. All wild birds in the UK are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. And according to the BBC, “feral pigeons can legally be shot”. But what about bagged and then offed with, say, a full can of Tenants Super to the head before being eaten?

On the forums of The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, we’re told, “Feral (urban) pigeons are legal game with an air rifle.” Indeed, if you hold a ‘General License’ you can kill pigeons, both wood pigeons and feral birds. Government advice  runs: “You must still follow animal welfare laws and kill birds in a quick and humane manner. You can eat birds killed under this licence, but you can’t sell any for human consumption other than woodpigeons.” And you can use a cage trap.

Melissa Gill of Natural England, which oversees the General Licenses in England adds: “The licensee is at fault if he sells on the meat of a bird he has killed under licence – it is a condition of the licence which he is granted that he does not do that… It would not be illegal to eat it, so long as the individual could prove that they had not killed it and had discovered it dead.”

The laws on eating a feral pigeon are a tad confused. And if you eat them, they don’t suffer as a species. Trafford Council notes:

…for most pigeon problems, lethal methods are totally ineffective. They simply reduce competition for food and shelter, and the remaining birds increase their breeding rates to compensate. Although there is an immediate decrease, numbers soon recover, resulting in an endless cycle of killing and re-population

Forget GM crops. Pigeons are the answer to world hunger.

One local trader at Exeter’s Sidwell Street Market goes on the record. She says the pigeon fanciers seduce the birds with seed and stuff them in a sack. PCSO Giles then puts the vermin catching in context. “Many are alcoholics [the vagrants; not the pigeons], who to keep a certain consumption level, will drink continuously… now we’re eating pigeons, now we’re killing seagulls. It escalates.”

Good. If the vagrants can be directed towards rats, mice and cockroaches, Exeter may become the cleanest city in the land.

PS: On the Exeter City Council website, we read:

Sidwell Street market…

Please note, we are unable to accept applications from catering vans or fast food lines although we do have a limited number of pitches available for unusual street food.

Forget the sack and lighter fluid, lads. It’s a stall you need. Make ready with the retro pigeon a la mode, Spingo. The hipsters will come flocking.

Posted: 13th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment

Exeter Firemen Rescue Dog From Wine Rack

LOCAL News: In Exeter, Devon, the fire brigade has rescued a puppy form a wine rack:

bovey tracy



The Fire Service attended a incident in the above area for a 10 week old puppy stuck in a wine rack. One Fire appliance from Bovey Tracey attended this incident.

On arrival, crews confirmed one 10 week old Labrador Puppy stuck in a wine rack and got to work to release the Puppy using small tools. The Puppy was released unharmed.

These are the full and final details.

When did a fire engine become a fire appliance?

Posted: 31st, October 2013 | In: Strange But True | Comment

Santa threatened with spatula by offensive Exeter cafe owner

GREG Martin has p0sted a picture of Santa Claus at his Fuel in North Street, Exeter that featrues the message:  “Eat here or the old b****** gets it.” ‘It’ being a going over with a spatula.

Police have ordered Mr Martin to remove the poster. Police says the message is in breach of Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

Mr Martin says:

“It was a joke. Everyone I know took it in the spirit with which it was intended. I didn’t think it was particularly controversial until the police came calling… I was told that a complaint had been made and the poster was considered to be offensive as a Section 5 offence.”

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Posted: 25th, December 2011 | In: Reviews | Comment

Exeter Thief Leaves Trail Of Minstrels To His Lair

MARK Rye, 29, was “off his face” when he broke into the Co-Op in Exeter. He stole booze and sweets.
He ran off – leaving behind a trial of Minstrels chocolates.

At Exeter Crown Court, Rye admits burglary and drugs offences. He is sent down for three years and nine months.

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Posted: 2nd, September 2011 | In: Strange But True | Comment

Thief Raids RBS And Finds Tills Empty

“I’VE got a gun. Seriously I’ve got a gun – hand over the ******* money”.

Andrew Stewart is reading his newspaper in the Exeter branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland on March 31 last year when he heard that claim.

Brian Davison, 32, is harvesting notes form scared cashiers.

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Posted: 31st, March 2009 | In: Money | Comment

Health And Safety Inspector Falls From Ladder

HEADLINE of the Day, in the Tabloid Telegraph: “Health and safety inspector falls off ladder.”

A health and safety inspector had to be rescued by firefighters after he fell from a ladder while he was carrying out a risk assessment.

Before we fail this under “Beyond Parody”, let’s investigate further.

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Posted: 12th, September 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Strange But True | Comments (5)