A woman has been left furious after receiving a £120 fine from Manchester City Council for feeding pigeons in Piccadilly Gardens last Sunday.
Kerris Fenn, a 22-year-old customer support executive from Cardiff who was visiting her brother in Manchester for the weekend, was handed the fine under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for “littering, namely food waste” after feeding pigeons part of the Greggs Vegan Sausage Roll she was eating.
Speaking to the MEN, Kerris explained that she had had ripped the end of the pastry into “tiny pieces” to feed a small group of birds as she thought they looked “quite sweet”, but was left shocked when enforcement officers from 3GS – on behalf of the council – handed her a £150 fine, which would be reduced to £120 if paid it within ten days.
Manchester City Council has defended the fine stating that “feeding the pigeons is littering, plain and simple”.
Explaining the chain of events from Sunday 26th July, Kerris said: “I was sat in Piccadilly Gardens [and] I had walked over from the Arndale Centre. I was eating a Greggs Sausage Roll. It was less than a mouthful left [and the pigeons] had gathered around [which] I thought it was quite sweet.”
“I just really like animals, I’m a vegan”.
“I ripped [the sausage roll] into tiny pieces [and] I tried feeding the crumbs to them. It was just a small group, not flocks and flocks,” she said.
Enforcement officers then came over and “demanded her ID”.
She continued: “They charged me £120 for littering [but] it would have been more than £150 if I left it more than 10 days. It’s outrageous. It’s crazy to treat me the same as someone who throws litter on the floor. I contacted the council and explained ‘this is crazy’ [and] said ‘if you told me, I would have stopped’. I was shocked.”
“It’s the most expensive lunch ever.”
“I’m not going back [to Piccadilly Gardens], definitely not. I can’t believe it. I’m still angry about it. It’s upsetting how shocking it was, and how embarrassing it was in front of so many people”.
Addressing the charge, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar – Executive Member for Neighbourhoods at Manchester City Council – said: “Feeding the pigeons is littering, plain and simple. Clear signs are in place in Piccadilly Gardens to advertise this fact [and] while we take no pleasure in handing out Fixed Penalty Notices to offenders, it’s extremely important that people understand that they should not be feeding the birds in this way.”
“Illegally dropping food for the pigeons is bad for the local environment and can also be harmful to the birds, as many items intended for human consumption are not suitable for them to eat.”
Kerris confirmed that she tried to appeal, but said that Manchester City Council stated she “would have to wait until my case proceeds to court”.
She chose to pay the £120 fine in order to prevent it from increasing.