Residents of a Devon town have criticised a supermarket and pest control company after a pair of pigeons died after allegedly being trapped in nets for more than a week.

Ilfracombe resident Lynda Godliman said she was ‘absolutely furious’ about the way in which the animals died at the town’s branch of Tesco on the Old Barnstaple Road.

Lynda shared this picture of the dead pigeons to local Facebook group Gossip Around Ilfracombe, saying: “Two pigeons trapped behind the netting for over a week at Tesco, apparently Rentokil was supposed to be releasing them, bit late now their dead, obviously died because of lack of food and water, shocking.”

Her anger was shared by many other members of the group, who left comments such as:

“Horrible way to die, poor pigeons.”

“No excuse for causing suffering – they might be rats with wings and vermin, but any kind of pest control has to be humane.”

“I’m disgusted with the whole scenario and will be talking to the manager.”

The Tesco store in Ilfracombe

Diana Lewis, founder of the North Devon Animal Ambulance charity, said told DevonLive she had received several complaints about the matter.

She said: “I have spoken to Tesco today and they have assured me that it won’t happen again. I believe the contractor they employ have to come from far away to carry out this work.


“I have told Tesco that if they discover birds that have become trapped, I will always come rapidly and get it sorted.”

Diana Lewis of North Devon Animal Ambulance

Diana said there is netting all over buildings and businesses in North Devon which is designed to birds like seagulls and pigeons nesting.

She said: “Almost all of it has been installed by professionals and is generally effective. It is one of the least offensive methods of control.

“However sometimes it breaks and birds can get in but not out, which often leads to a very slow and miserable death. When it is installed by amateurs it can be very cruel and unpleasant for the birds.”

Diana added: “In fairness to Tesco, I usually have a very quick response from them and all their local stores frequently contact me about lost dogs and cats or injured birds. It is unusual for them not to respond fast on animal welfare issues.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We have installed netting beneath the store canopy at our Ilfracombe Superstore in the interests of customer health and safety.

“Unfortunately two pigeons became trapped in the netting and we called our contractor to release the birds. We apologise for any distress to customers.”

DevonLive contacted the pest control company but no one was available for comment.


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