‘I won’t pay my fine’ vows gran

Rose Rodell with her dog Berkley at Pennington Point

Rose Rodell with her dog Berkley at Pennington Point - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth woman, who was fined for littering after she left food out for birds in the town, says she will not pay the £80 – and plans to take her case to court, if need be.

Rose Rodell, 68, reluctantly agreed to stop feeding pigeons in the Market Square after being issued a fixed penalty notice by East Devon District Council (EDDC) last week.

But the York Street resident says the fine is unjustified because she always clears up any leftover feed before leaving.

“I’m not going to pay for something that is untrue,” she said. “I don’t litter, so I’m not going to pay for it.

“I don’t want to take it to court, but I will if I have to.”

The maximum fine that can be imposed by magistrates for littering is £2,500.

EDDC says the grandmother is undermining council efforts to discourage seagulls from nesting in the town, which include spending thousands of pounds on employing a falconer to scare the gulls away.

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But Mrs Rodell says the food she has been putting out for the past three years is for a group of lost homing pigeons, not seagulls.

She said she had left the Market Square for a few minutes last Wednesday and, when she returned to sweep up the leftover peanuts and grain, a council enforcement officer was waiting to fine her.

“They were out to get me,” she added. “They were waiting for me to move away from the Market Square.

“But I always come back to that spot to clear it up.”

Mrs Rodell has agreed to stop feeding the birds, although is now ‘sick with worry’ about the wellbeing of the pigeons.

“It’s heartbreaking for me because I’m really worried about these birds,” she said. “They are hand-reared, so they rely on being fed and watered.

“Now they are going to perish because I’m not allowed to feed them.”

An EDDC spokesman said the fine was issued after ‘many calls from several quarters’ for the authority to take action.

The spokesman added: “Mrs Rodell is well aware of the issues faced by all of those who are trying to discourage gulls from nesting in the town centre and attacking residents and tourists eating outdoors.

“She even attended a ‘seagull summit’ organised by the council last year, where she would have heard about the need to avoid feeding the birds, which makes them dependent on ‘takeaway’ food rather than living in their natural environment.

“[The fine] is intended to stop her feeding the gulls and pigeons.”