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Student fined £150 for ‘littering’ after feeding pigeon piece of tortilla

A student was stunned at being fined £150 for littering when he placed a piece of his tortilla on the pavement for a ‘hungry looking’ pigeon to eat.

‘It was hard to swallow’ – Rishi was devastated at receiving the bill (Picture: MEN Media)

A student was stunned at being fined £150 for littering when he placed a piece of his tortilla on the pavement for a ‘hungry looking’ pigeon to eat.

Rishi Prem said he was swooped on by a 3GS enforcement officer in Manchester within seconds of putting the food down for the bird.

The University of Salford student flew over from India just five months ago to start a safety, health and environment course.

He said he had no idea that feeding a pigeon could be classed as littering.

Rishi, from the southern state of Kerala, added that such behaviour was ‘common’ back home.

The fine has left him left ‘very upset’ and struggling financially, but Manchester City Council was unrepentant.

It said it doesn’t want people feeding pigeons and that wardens would continue to issue fines.

A student who has only been in the UK a matter of months has hit out after being fined for 'littering' because he fed a pigeon a piece of his tortilla wrap. Rishi Prem said he was left 'very upset' and struggling financially after being slapped with the ?150 bill over the incident in Manchester city centre.

The fine is only £120 if paid within 10 days (Picture: Rishi Prem/MEN Media)
Manchester City Council has a no tolerance approach to feeding pigeons (Picture: Rishi Prem/MEN Media)

Rishi was sat on a bench in Piccadilly Gardens shortly before 11.30am when he was approached by the officer from 3GS, a private contractor which provides environmental enforcement services.

A group of pigeons had flown towards him and settled down nearby when he tore off a ‘tiny bit’ of his tortilla wrap and laid it on the ground for one of them to snaffle.

He was then approached by the officer who ignored his pleas of ignorance and immediately issued a fine for £150.

It read: ‘An officer authorised by Manchester City Council has reason to believe you committed the offence of littering, namely food waste, contrary to section 87/88 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.’

The student said: ‘I felt sympathy for it as it looked so hungry.

The student has only been in the UK a matter of months (Picture: Rishi Prem/MEN Media)

‘I knew if I gave it to the pigeon directly it would just fly away, so I laid it on the ground in front of it.

‘He (the officer) was watching me from the moment I sat down and started eating, and he saw the birds coming towards me so he could have warned me.

‘But there was no warning. It was like he was just waiting for that moment.

‘I have only been here four or five months, I have no knowledge of the
laws and did not know that it was a crime. And there were no signs around saying that.

‘In my country it is common. It is usual to feed other living things. It is just a natural human action. It was hard to swallow.

Rishi takes a selfie in front of Manchester’s statue of Mahatma Gandhi (Picture: Rishi Prem/MEN Media)

‘I am from a poor background. £150 in my country is 10,000 rupees. I cannot ask my family to send me that.

The Covid situation has meant it has been hard to find work and I have to pay my fees.

‘The university have been fantastic with me and helped me move my payments so I can pay it. But it has left me very upset.’

Last August, a woman was fined £150 for feeding pigeons the crumbs of her Greggs vegan sausage roll in the same spot in Manchester.


MORE : Woman fined £150 for feeding Greggs vegan sausage roll to pigeons


MORE : Council officer beaten with wooden mop pole for trying to issue litter fine

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