Hambledon landowner found guilty in noisy chicken court row

Helen Rogers has been found guilty of breaching an order to keep the noise down from her cockerels
Helen Rogers has been found guilty of breaching an order to keep the noise down from her cockerels

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ANIMAL-lover Helen Rogers has been found guilty of breaching an order to keep the noise down from her cockerels.

The 57-year-old was given an 18-month conditional discharge after Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court found she breached a noise abatement notice three times.

The case was launched by Winchester City Council after two neighbours said the ‘excessive crowing and calling’ from three cockerels and six ducks at St Peter’s Farm, Hambledon, was keeping them awake at night.

During a previous hearing, Alison Harker, an environmental protection officer, played the recordings she had taken on November 5, 7 and 11.

Yesterday the defence opened its case and Rogers said the chickens were kept in a stable block all day.

After the notice was served last October, Rogers said she put the cockerels in a smaller pen to stop them from crowing and covered the pens with a horse rug at night.

She said: ‘I am not going to rehome my birds. If I am going to rehome my birds, why doesn’t everyone else rehome theirs?’

The Rev Janet Thornhill, of Green Pastures Christian Centre in Hambledon, said she kept 16 hens and one cockerel and said there were numerous wild birds in the trees.

She said: ‘Morning is coming, the sun is rising and birds are letting us know because it’s a new day. It’s absolutely delightful – that’s country life.’

Chairman of the bench Paul Wilkinson said they purely had to consider whether the notice was breached on those three days in November.

He said they placed great emphasis on the evidence of the council officer, who has more than 20 years’ experience.

‘She took the recordings between 6.15am and 7.15am,’ he said. ‘We find her evidence compelling.’

He ordered Rogers to pay £1,000 in court costs.

After the hearing, Tony Higham, one of the complainants, told The News: ‘This is a case of anti-social behaviour. There’s no place for anti-social behaviour anywhere in Britain.’

Rogers, of Chichester, said: ‘They have not won. Five pigs are going on the property. I am not going anywhere.’