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Weekend help needed to tackle pigeon dropping problem in Diss, says town council leader

The leader of Diss Town Council has appealed for extra help to tackle the problem of pigeon droppings in Diss, especially at the weekend.

Cllr Simon Olander said he is dismayed by the state of the town at weekends and appealed to the district council for extra help.

Cllr Olander said: "Currently our structure is that we only have minimal staff (street cleaners) in at weekends but we are trying to engage the district council on a way forward.

Pigeons by the Mere. Picture: Chris Morris
Pigeons by the Mere. Picture: Chris Morris

"Ultimately they have got responsibility for street cleaning. We do the pieces of land that we own, and we also do some of the areas that they currently manage as well.

"But it has got to the point now where we need additional help."

Mr Olander made his comments in an interview this week on Park Radio during which a listener wondered if pigeon droppings scared off shoppers and tourists, and presenter Chris Moyse, also asked: Where is Rufus the Hawk?

Simon Olander, right, when he took over as leader of Diss Town Council.
Simon Olander, right, when he took over as leader of Diss Town Council.

Dealey Bird Control is currently approaching business in the town to help fund a scheme to fly a hawk and falcon around the town to frighten away pigeons.

The method is also used at Wimbledon with Rufus the Hawk, now in his 15th year in the job, after being trained to scare away pigeons since he was just 16 weeks old.

Where is Rufus the Hawk? Chris Moyse
Where is Rufus the Hawk? Chris Moyse

Rufus is Wimbledon's official bird scarer; has his own photo security pass with 'Bird Scarer' as his job title.

The Harris Hawk is flown around the courts before the gates open from 5am to 10am, and is described as an "important member of the Wimbledon family."

He also has more than 10,000 followers on Twitter

"Everything is in place for the scheme with Dealey Bird Control approaching businesses and I am hopeful that will be a success," added Cllr Olander.

"However, dealing with pigeon and bird faeces isn't just pushing a brush. There are complications with inhaling things like that and that is why you have got to have the appropriate kit for people to be doing that kind of work.

"Unfortunately, we don't have the sort of remit to buy that sort of kit because we don't do that level of work but we are working with the district council.

"We have a got a problem of birds in Diss. If people aren't complaining about the ducks on the Mere and making Mere's Mouth particularly unpleasant, it will be the pigeons on Mere Street.

Early morning street cleaning in Mere Street
Early morning street cleaning in Mere Street

"Obviously, as an animal lover, I don't want to see pigeons being culled any more than anyone else, but we have got to find a way that we can manage both.

"Foral Diss and Doreen Collins are doing a brilliant job with the new planters through the town.

"But I often walk through the town at the weekend and I have to agree I am dismayed about it.

"Unfortunately, as per with most most things, people don't usually work most over weekends and that is where we fall down. The problem is still there at the weekends and and we are not getting to the bottom of it.

"Nothing, though, is ever is a quick fix in local government - but it is definitely on our radar and that of the district council and councillors."

You can read more about what is being done about pigeon droppings in Diss in next Friday's paper.

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