An animal lover embroiled in a neighbour row has been fined nearly £1,000 after the ‘unrelenting’ noise from his flock of pet pigeons was found to be louder than a passing aircraft.

Following complaints from a neighbor, Grandfather Alan Pidgley went to court. He was then fined. 

The complainant said the noise of the 15 pigeons was so ‘distressing’ she and her  husband have been forced to try to move from the New Forest village where they live.

After a row over birds, which divided Hordle’s Hampshire community, Mr Pidgley was served with a noise reduction order from Hordle by the local authority. Pidgley worked in the area for close to 30 years.

The two neighbors had lived together for more than 10 years amicably until two years ago.

Alan Pidgley, pictured, from Hordle, Hampshire has been warned he faces further fines unless he finds a solution to the noise caused by his pigeon flock

Alan Pidgley (pictured), Hordle in Hampshire was warned that he could face further penalties if he doesn’t find a solution for the noise from his pigeon flock

Mr Pidgley converted a shed at the back of his house for the pigeons, bringing him into dispute with a neighbour who reported the matter to the local council

The back yard shed Mr Pidgley had converted was used by the pigeons. He got into a fight with his neighbour, who reported it to the local council. 

New Forest District Council monitored the noise produced by the pigeons and found they created a bigger disturbance than an aircraft flying overhead or a bin lorry making a collection

New Forest District Council examined the sound produced by the pigeons. They were louder than an aircraft or bin lorry collecting rubbish.

All that changed after Mr Pidgley, who keeps rescue chickens and tortoises as well as 50 fish and Patch the dog, saw an advertisement online offering the flock.

He converted the shed that he had built behind his detached bungalow to accommodate them after acquiring them.

In a matter of months, the neighbour expressed her disgust at the disruption.

New Forest District Council’s Barrister Duncan Milne told Southampton Magistrates Court that a first complaint about the “unrelenting” noise of the pigeons was made in April 2013.

A council investigation was launched to determine the extent of disturbance. It found that birds were louder than the planes above or bins being picked up.

He said that environmental health officers had heard 300 instances of cooing and bellowing on January 7. They recommended [to Mr Pidgley]Reduce the number of pigeons by 10 and remove eggs.

‘Mr Pidgley claimed he would relocate the pigeons but not leave them outside until the morning. Also, that feeding the animals was part of his Hindu faith.

“But, further recordings revealed 30 instances of noise that were described as persistent and constituting a nuisance under the statutory laws.

Mr. Pidgley retold the story [his neighbour]The pigeons were moved and the owner should get double glazing.

“Officers” visited again after the order was placed, and they heard more singing. In March, sound recording equipment was put in place.

‘They found that the pigeons dominated and remained the predominant sound over all other noises, such as planes and garbage collection overhead.

On one morning, officials recorded 300 incidents of bellowing and cooing by the pigeons

Officials recorded 300 instances of pigeons cooing and bellowing in one morning

Mr Pidgley said he re homed the pigeons two years ago after responding to an advertisement

According to Mr Pidgley, he was able to rehome the pigeons after answering an advertisement.

Mr Pidgley, a retired council worker, pictured, denied his pigeons created a disturbance and said many of his neighbours were not

Retired council worker Mr Pidgley, shown here, said that the pigeons did not cause any trouble and that many of his neighbours weren’t. 

The victim stated that her neighbors told her to “get used” to the noise and said she couldn’t approach her neighbor to settle matters.

Due to the distressing sounds, she said that her husband and daughter had tried to sell their property.

He insisted that Mr Pidgley – a retired street cleaner and married to Tara, a 61-year old NHS worker – take steps to lower the volume.

Father of three, grandfather of six stated to court that he had moved the pigeons away from his neighbor.

“My neighbours are fine with them, and are much closer to their house.”

“[The victim]She even asked her neighbor for support, but she said no. And now, she’s not speaking to her …. neighbor they used go out with.

“It has created a lot of negative feelings all around.”

Environmental Health officers determined that the birds were causing nuisance by their flapping and repetitive cooing, and gave him an order to stop his noise.

Magistrates ordered Mr Pidgley to pay a fine of £500 and £450 in costs – a significant reduction from the £4,389.89 the council sought – after he admitted failing to comply with it.

Now, he faces having to say goodbye to his beloved pet pigeons. The order is in force. If the disturbance goes on, he could face further fines.

“What will I do with these pigeons?”Mr Pidgley questioned the magistrates.

Graham Beck, Lead Magistrate said that it wasn’t within his jurisdiction to give advice on what he should do and not. It is possible for the council to serve another notice if there is no action.

“My suggestion would be that you speak with the council.

Tara Pidgley, Mr Pidgley’s wife, is from Mauritius and wept in the courtroom as the judge read the decision.

Since then, he has received many messages of support and encouragement from friends and neighbours who want to set up a fund to pay the fine.

After the case was over, Pidgley stated that it was a joke. The wanted to create a page for fundraising to pay the fine. We asked them instead to donate to animal rescue charities.

“I must get rid of these pigeons now or I will be fined further.

“It will absolutely be heartbreaking to watch them leave after just two years.”

On the cul-de-sac where he lives – where the average house price is £400,000 – neighbours were supportive of him.

Gill Waring who lives next door to Mr Pidgley also said she loved hearing the birds chirp.

According to the 72-year old, “I’ve never had any problems with the pigeons.”

“They never wake me up in the mornings, and they love to coo on the fence. I’ve even set food out before them but they won’t leave Alan’s home.

Christina Ball, 65 years of age, lives with her husband John right across from Mr Pidgley.

Mrs Ball said that “the whole thing is absurd – it doesn’t make any difference to our life.”

“I visit the pigeons, my grandchildren enjoy coming over and seeing them. And watching their flight away.

“Alan and Tara, the heart of this small village community, are loved by everyone who comes to visit their pets.

“This is rural life, so it is a joy to be able hear wild animals such as Alan. 

The complainant declined to speak with me about the matter.