A student at the University of West London has been fined for feeding pigeons in the centre of Ealing despite being on church property at the time of the alleged offence.

Paul Woodman was taking some time out during his lunch break in the space at the front of Christ the Saviour Church on Ealing Broadway. He was near the memorial to Rev. Joseph Hilliard, the church’s second vicar, and was giving some seeds to pigeons.

He was approached by to civil enforcement officers who issued him with an £160 Fixed Penalty Notice accusing him of giving bread to the birds.

He said that the notice given to him incorrectly specifies that he was using bread. When he pointed out that he was on church land and that there were no signs to warn people that feeding pigeons was forbidden, he was told that the church wouldn’t like it.

It is understood that the enforcement officers were using powers given to the by a Public Space Protection Order. Unlike for Trafalgar Square, where feeding pigeons is specifically forbidden, the order does not mention birds but in Ealing officers have in the past interpreted leaving food out for pigeons as litter.

Mr Woodman said that he intends to contest the fine.

The incident comes a few weeks after enforcment officers operating in a similar location fined GB New Producer Alex McLeod for picking his nose and depositing ‘nasal mucus’.

Whether fines can be issued on church property remains unclear. In its advice on issuing PSPOs the Local Government Association says, “ The activity restricted by an Order must be carried out in a public place, which is defined in the legislation as ‘any place to which

the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission’.

However, it also acknowledges that private landowners are responsible for behaviours on their own property and measures other the PSPOs should be applied in these cases.

A Ealing Council spokesperson said, “Dropping things on the ground and leaving them there is considered littering by law. Our residents expect a zero tolerance approach to littering and people caught littering in Ealing will be given a fixed penalty notice of £150. This fine can also be issued for leaving food on the ground for birds.

“Patrols around Christ the Saviour Church started after the church asked the council to monitor the area due to the levels of littering and dog fouling they find on their grounds, including from bird feeding and the associated bird mess.

“We understand that some residents enjoying feeding birds. We kindly request that this is done in private areas like gardens to avoid enforcement action. “We asked Christ the Saviour Church for comment but have not yet received a response.


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