A COUNCIL has made a 'Don't Feed the Birds' appeal because of a growing town centre pigeon problem.

Residents have been warned that the practice is unhealthy and could attract a £75 fine.

Blackburn bus station has been identified as a pigeon hot spot where passengers have been spotted dropping morsels of food for the birds creating a mess inside and outside.

Now Blackburn with Darwen Council has stepped up its crackdown on pigeon feeders with brand new posters and a warning that anyone dropping food for the birds will fall foul of litter enforcement patrols.

The new campaign follows 73-year-old Zena Altham complaining she was 'treated like a criminal' by Hyndburn Council after being issues with a £75 fine for feeding pigeons with crumbs from a sausage roll on Accrington town centre.

Cllr Jim Smith, Blackburn with Darwen Council's environment boss, said that initally warnings would be given to bird feeders followed by fines starting to be issued a few weeks later.

READ > Woman fined £75 for feeding sausage roll pastry crumbs to pigeons

He said: "Help keep our town clean and don't feed the pigeons.

"Not only can it be potentially harmful to the pigeon population, it is very unhygienic especially as it leads to increased pigeon droppings.

" Any surplus food will also be scavenged by rats causing further issues.

"Pigeons have their own natural sources of food, their digestion systems are not designed to eat human food, so feeding them does more harm than good.

"Our street cleansing teams work hard to make sure that Blackburn town centre is attractive and clean but we need the public to play a part and help us do this.

"We know people who feed the pigeons do this because they think they are helping, but they are actually creating problems and could end up getting a fine.”

Blackburn BID Manager Catherine Price added: We know that pigeons aren't interested in interacting with people - they're just after food. The mess and disturbance caused by feeding them leaves the town centre looking dirty and unkempt."

Cllr Smith added: "We are working hard with local business to make sure they dispose of waste responsibly and we provide rodent proof waste bins across the town centre that the public can use to dispose of litter."

Ms Price added: "One of the BID objectives is to ensure that Blackburn town centre is clean, green and as attractive as possible and residents, visitors and businesses can do their bit to help by not feeding the pigeons.”