Case study 5: Surveillance for feeding the birds

(Statement by CPN recipient) ‘I have been issued a CPN Warning (and two subsequent warning letters) on the basis of a council officer claiming to see large quantities of bird food on the ground in my garden. My garden is completely private and enclosed so I have no idea how he has reached this conclusion. It is also untrue – I have never put bird food on the ground in my garden. A council pest control officer who has never entered my premises says I have an issue with rats.

I have a report from a pest control officer which contradicts this and confirms no rodent activity on my property, but I expect they will issue me with the CPN.

The council has been asking neighbors to film inside my garden, which they have been doing by climbing ladders and looking through gaps in the gates, and audio monitoring equipment was taken into next door to monitor me. They have viewed the inside of my property from the outside, and all this surveillance is quite intense and effected my mental health so that I can hardly work or sleep.

I think complaints issued from the guy over the road, who is a funny bloke – he started getting funny about car parking spaces, I just ignored him, then he started making complaints about excessive bird feeding. He puts feed around my house to draw pigeons to the ground and to take photos.

I keep pigeons and the senior environmental health officer came around and inspected my aviaries – they are all completely solid. But I found out later that the officer reported me to social services for a safeguarding issue, for my stepson, claiming that I allow sick pigeons to fly around the house (which is completely untrue). They were trying to intimidate me a bit.

It is getting to the stage where it doesn’t even matter what I do. I feel that they are determined to get me on something – they want my pigeons gone.

There are a huge number of people in the neighbourhood who are pro birds – there are lots of bird feeders in houses, and flocks of hundreds of pigeons on other houses.

Having these officials spying on me, climbing my walls to see in my garden with no interest in engaging with me is very intimidating. I’ve told them I’m now on prescription medication for depression / anxiety and to sleep, and watching this unfold literally brings on panic attacks. It got so bad that I was recently referred to the Mental Health Team, and am now under their care – I think I had a mental health breakdown.

I witnessed a council official trying to look in my garden, when I went down to invite him in I saw him entering the complainant’s front door and he was in his house for over 90 minutes, when they came out they were laughing and joking, pointing and gesticulating at my house. I thought that can’t be right, surely – they have to remain neutral when investigating. He did not come to my house.’