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Pensioner Hit With £150 Fine For Feeding The Ducks

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Pensioner Hit With £150 Fine For Feeding The Ducks

A man was hit with a £150 fine for feeding the ducks in a London canal.

James Watson, 68, was whacked with a fixed penalty notice by Kingdom enforcement team on 12 March.

Kingdom, who are an outsourced company who work on behalf of Ealing Council, accused James of 'throwing bird food on the ground and walking away'.

The ticket claimed James was found littering in Bedford Avenue, Hayes - however, James says he had been throwing the food straight in the Grand Union Canal in Southhall, several streets away from where the ticket claimed he had been.

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Credit: BPM Media
Credit: BPM Media

He also denied that he had been throwing the food onto the floor, saying he had actually been throwing it directly into the water to feed the ducks.

James said he only realised the discrepancies on the ticket once he got home and had a proper look with his glasses on.

James's son, Dave Watson, told MyLondon that the incident had left his dad feeling stressed.

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He said: "I am actually a volunteer for litter picking groups in Ealing so when my dad was accused of littering I was shocked. I had brought him the specialised feed to make sure he was helping the birds and environment.

"We tried to appeal the ticket but there isn't actually a formal appeal process for a fixed penalty notice. Even though the ticket had the wrong details on, wrong accusations and wrong road, he was still expected to pay it.

"He almost gave up and just paid the fine because contesting it in court would cost more money than paying the ticket would. It caused him a lot of stress when we knew that purpose duck food is not classed as litter because when it is thrown in the water and eaten the purpose is for it to be eaten, not littered."

Credit: BPM Media
Credit: BPM Media
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Despite initially being told by Ealing Council that there was no process to appeal the ticket, Dave has now been able to get the ticket cancelled and his dad was excused from paying the fine.

Dave continued: "My dad has heart conditions and this didn't help with his stress. I am glad we didn't pay the charge. Officials were very apologetic about the whole situation and assured me those feeding ducks won't be prosecuted in the future."

An Ealing Council spokesperson said: "In a densely populated urban environment, food thrown or dropped on the floor can attract mice and rats. The Canal and River Trust approached us to involve our Kingdom enforcement team to consider ways to reduce the amount of food left lying around on the towpath.

"On occasion this means handing out single fixed penalty notices to those who don't play by the rules and spoil it for everyone else. This stretch of canal is regularly visited by the Kingdom enforcement team and they've received positive responses by most towpath users who understand that we want to keep our towpaths and waterways clean for people to enjoy.

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"On this occasion, we appreciate that Mr Watson was feeding the ducks in the canal and not littering the towpath. We have cancelled his fixed penalty notice, and have apologised to him directly."

Featured Image Credit: BPM Media

Topics: UK News, Animals, London

Claire Reid
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