Couple prosecuted after ‘nightmare’ pet cockerels make ‘unbelievable’ noise for neighbours

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Alexander and Lorraine Burgeen kept the birds in the garden of their home in Quebec Avenue in the Bispham area of the city. They pleaded guilty to offences under the Noise Abatement Act at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on 8 December.

Councillor Rick Scott told the BBC that the noise had been a “nightmare” for nearby residents for more than three years.

He said: “You’d expect this if you lived on a farm but not in a residential street.”

According to the Blackpool Gazette, court chairman Simon Bridge told the couple on sentencing: “You must sort this out now. This is a warning.”

Mrs Burgeen, 62, and Mr Burgeen, 60, were sentenced to year-long conditional discharges and ordered to pay £122 costs each.

The couple were also told to find them somewhere else to live.

A neighbour, whose name is not given, is reported in the Gazette as saying: “The cockerels wake us up at 5am, and they crow all day until dusk.

“I have been working from home during the pandemic and it has been extremely distracting. The decibels are that loud. It’s unbelievable.”

Mrs Burgeen is reported to have said in court: “[The cockerels] are my pets. They were from a rescue centre.

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“We have done everything we can to keep the noise down.

“We have been trying to get them a new home right up to now. We face having to get a vet to put them down.”

Mr Burgeen explained how he had put bin bags in the coops in an effort to cut the noise.

He said: “It has helped a bit.”

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Sharon Davies, representing Blackpool Council, is reported in the Gazette as saying: “These cockerels are living in a residential area.

“The council first recieved a complaint about them in March 2018.

“The complaint was about them crowing, something they naturally do.

“However the complaints continued vociferously. They were served noise abatement notices which they have broken in a residential area which is not suitable.”

Councils recommend neighbours talk to cockerel owners if noise is an issue.

By law, local authorities are required to look into noise complaints, though some may invite a person to keep a log of incidents before pursuing a case.

If there are grounds to investigate, a council can temporarily install noise recording equipment near a home or send round an enforcement officer to gauge the volume firsthand.

Once a nuisance is confirmed, councils should serve noise abatement notices to prevent further noise nuisance.

Failure to comply is a criminal offence and in extreme cases the noise offender can be issued with a fine.

There are no nationwide restrictions on keeping poultry, but it is not necessary to keep a cockerel for hens to lay.

It is a cockerel owner’s responsibility to ensure crowing does not cause a noise nuisance to neighbours.

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