Feathers have been flying this week after it emerged Staines Town Football Club has resorted to shooting pigeons in a bid to stop the birds fouling football stands.

Animal rights campaigners have branded the Wheatsheaf Lane club barbaric after spotting a posting left on the club’s football forum by commercial manager Angie Payne.

Mrs Payne wrote: “Its been a problem for us for over a year. Our cleaning contractor who cleans the loos and dressing rooms, has added another hour onto his contract to clean the offending seats before each game.

“Alas as soon as they are squeaky clean again, the pidgeons (sic) drop again, sometimes before he's left the stand.

“We have solved the problem - a pest control company came in last week and shot 15 of them.

“Please if there are any pidgeon fans out there dont start having a go at me, they were a bloody nuisance and if I'd had a gun I would have done it myself.”

In a series of emails between animal rights campaigners Mrs Payne told protestors, who have threatened to stage a protest outside the ground: “I'm am definitely no lady when it comes to replying to weirdos who send me emails, about a load of stinking birds who have spoilt the enjoyment of hundreds of sports fans who cannot use half the seating allocated to them.”

Animal rights campaigner and member of the Pigeon Welfare Group Kathy Green said: “What they have done is totally barbaric and unethical.

“Shooting birds is not an effective deterrent and the club could face private prosecution.”

Staines Town FC and The Thames Club, which own the main building but let the football club use its changing facilities, issued a joint statement this week which said: “As a last resort Staines FC placed a formal request to The Thames Club, the land owners, to employ the services of a British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) licensed member to help get rid of the pigeons.”

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is illegal to kill birds because they are soiling a building or causing damage to a building.

The property owner must be able to demonstrate, in a court of law, that lethal control was used because bird control products had failed.

Mrs Payne said: “I have been losing sleep over this because of constant threatening emails.

“Pigeon droppings have been causing a nightmare for us as a club, we are losing revenue. There are much more important things going on in the world at the moment without people worrying about a few birds. I understand everyone is entitled to their own opinion but this reaction is totally over the top.”

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