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Residents' fury after rat poison scattered around popular walking trail

Residents in a Diss street are up in arms after rat poison was scattered around an estate often visited by families and dog walkers.

A number of blue pellets were found haphazardly scattered along a path just off Ensign Way on three occasions in the past fortnight, raising suspicions that somebody was attempting to cull the large feral chicken population that openly roams the estate.

Elderly residents were forced to clear up the hazardous pellets themselves, whilst one councillorhas decried the practice as “monstrously irresponsible”.

Carol Morris and Gwen Sinclair have spotted rat poison being mysteriously placed alongside a walkway near their homes. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE PHOTOGRAPHY
Carol Morris and Gwen Sinclair have spotted rat poison being mysteriously placed alongside a walkway near their homes. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE PHOTOGRAPHY

Pensioner Carol Morris, pictured, who lives nearby and frequently feeds the birds, said whoever’s putting down the pellets is not only putting local wildlife at risk but dogs, horses, and even children, too.

“There are children that go there to feed the horse - if they drop some food and pick it up, it’s on their fingers,” saidthegreat-

“There’s so many dogs and they are not on leashes and they’ll rummage on the ground.”

A local vet confirmed that the blue pellets were in fact rat poison. (40204246)
A local vet confirmed that the blue pellets were in fact rat poison. (40204246)

Friend and neighbour Gwen Sinclair, who had helped Mrs Morris clear up the pellets, said: “Why someone is doing it, we don’t know.”

The 74-year-old great-grandmother from Ensign Way added: “We know some people don’t like the chickens, but we’re also concerned for the dogs that go down to there.”

The chickens have been a bone of contention for years now, with residents complaining that they are attracting rats and keeping people awake at

Mrs Morris, however, insisted that whoever put down the poison had no intention of killing rodents.

“People say because we are putting food down it could be attracting rats, but if they were trying to kill rats they would have put it nearer to the stream – they are trying to kill the chickens.”

Mrs Morris, 72, found the poison scattered around on three separate occasions on July 24, 28, and 30, and was forced to kit up in a protective mask and gloves to sweep the pellets up with a dustpan and broom.

“We sieved it off and I put it in a big plastic container in the conservatory,” she said.

“We took it to the food store and he said without a shadow of a doubt it was rat poison.”

The flock of chickens have freely roamed the area for more than two years after being abandoned by their owners on a nearby estate, and have divided opinion amongst residents and council officials – who have made a number of efforts to deal with the ‘chicken problem’ in a safe and humane way.

Over the past two years, South Norfolk Council has sent out teams, armed with fishing rods, to catch the 200-strong flock and rehome them elsewhere in a safe and ethical way.

However, South Norfolk councillor Keith Kiddie condemned the putting down of rat poison, calling it “monstrously irresponsible”.

“Nobody would sanction putting poison down – nobody wants to hurt the chickens in any form,” said the councillor for the Diss and Roydon ward.

“You’ve got people walking their dogs and small children playing around there.

“It’s monstrously irresponsible for people to put down rat poison. It’s designed to kill – full stop.

“I get that people are frustrated that the chicken problem isn’t solved, but to whoever is putting down rat poison, our message is please stop, now.

“It’s highly irresponsible – you can’t go throwing poison round in public places – it’s pretty tragic that it’s come to this.”

A spokesperson for South Norfolk Council outlined guidelines should anybody find any rat poison.

They said: “If someone finds rat poison left in the open, they should photograph it and contact the police with the location and details so the police can investigate.

“We would ask residents to avoid physical contact with the poison but to sweep it into a plastic bag, tie it up and, if not asked to retain it by the police, dispose of it in their domestic refuse bin and then thoroughly wash their hands.”

The spokesperson added: “We have continued the work to humanely reduce the number of birds and we ask for the continued support of the community to enable us to do this, but the indiscriminate use of poison is illegal and poses an unacceptable risk to families and animals in the area.”

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