A bird-lover has branded her local council "absurd" after she was slapped with an £80 littering fine - for feeding pigeons.

Sarah Argrave was hit with the on-the-spot fixed penalty after she was collared scattering bird feed on a street by a litter inspector.

The 39-year-old bird enthusiast, who runs Surrey animal rescue shelter Starlight Trust, claimed Sutton Council wanted to "wage a war against pigeons".

Sarah, from Wallington, south west London, was given the fine by a council litter cop who saw her feeding the birds on July 12.

"It's absolutely absurd. We're a little rescue charity and campaign for animal welfare, I'm the last person who would litter,” she explained.

"I could understand if I dropped a loaf. Every time I explained to them what I was doing they weren't interested in what I had to say. They said to me that I could put it all it in writing.

"I feel the council wants to wage a war against the pigeons and that they want to gentrify the high street," Sarah added.  

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The fine was later rescinded, but the council warned that others would not get off so lightly.

In a letter to Sarah on Tuesday, Jan Gransden, group manager of enforcement at the council, said: "In Sutton High Street pigeons have become a nuisance caused by excessive droppings which are not only unsightly, but can cause problems by making pavements slippery, particularly in wet weather, and result in increased street cleansing costs for the council.

"I have reviewed the circumstances of this case and on this occasion the council is prepared to cancel the fixed penalty notice."

The letter continued: "However I must stress that this a 'one-off' cancellation and any future fixed penalty notices issued to anyone for feeding pigeons by dropping bird feed on the ground will not be rescinded.

"The council would urge any people undertaking welfare or rescue work and using feeding to attract injured birds to contact either the council or Successful Sutton beforehand in order to prevent further fixed penalty notices being issued under similar circumstances."

Photo credit: SWNS