Tuesday, 3 Oct 2023

Bloke handed hefty fine for giving his leftover McDonald’s to a seagull

A bloke has been fined £100 for feeding chips to seagulls.

Jeffrey Jones, 66, was eating a McDonald’s in his parked car and decided to throw a bit of leftover burger bun and few chips to some seagulls that were hanging around in the car park.

The retired fireman said: "I took pity on the two starving seagulls and threw some bread to them. They picked it up and flew away."

But moments later two local council enforcement officers rocked up. One stood behind his car to prevent him from driving off while the other knocked on his car window.

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"It was quite intimidating, actually," said Mr Jones, who was with his sister at the time.

The officers said they had bodycam footage of him throwing material to the ground and had no choice but to fine him for littering.

Mr Jones insists that there was nothing left on the ground.

He said: "It was gone. There was nothing on the floor. But the officer said it was a clear-cut case and they had to issue me with a ticket whether they liked it or not."

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He says the enforcement officers, in their all black uniforms, reminded him of something out of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four.

He added there were no "Do not feed the birds" signs in the area and said he didn’t think of himself as a litterer.

"I have fed birds all my life," he said.

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"People feed the ducks down by Tesco all the time and no one says anything.”

Mr Jones, a full-time carer for his nephew, said he wouldn't bother to challenge the fine. "There's no point fighting it," he said. "They have footage of me throwing something on the ground. That's what the law says.

"But they are twisting it out of context. I can't believe two crusts of bread cost me a hundred quid."

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A Bridgend County Borough Council spokesman said: "While we cannot discuss specific cases, 3GS enforcement officers have confirmed that someone was fined after throwing a large handful of chips out of a car window.

"The act of discarding food in a public place is a littering offence and people can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 under the powers of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.”

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Recent research suggests that seagulls are more interested in food if they have seen a human drop it.

Senior author of the study Dr Laura Kelley said: "Our findings suggest that gulls are more likely to approach food that they have seen people drop or put down, so they may associate areas where people are eating with an easy meal.

"This highlights the importance of disposing of food waste properly, as inadvertently feeding gulls reinforces these associations."

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