Woman in court over crowing cockerels

Helen Rogers arrives at Portsmouth magistrates court today
Helen Rogers arrives at Portsmouth magistrates court today
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A LANDOWNER has appeared in court over her cockerels causing a nuisance to neighbours.

Helen Rogers, 57, appeared before Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court today accused of breaching a noise abatement notice served by Winchester City Council.

Residents in Hambledon say their lives have been made a misery by the crowing from the birds on land off Church Lane, Hambledon - known as St Peter’s Farm.

Mrs Rogers, who lives in Chichester and whose family own the land, denies breaching the abatement notice and says measures have been taken to make the chickens less noisy, including keeping them in a chicken coop and not letting them out until 7am.

David Ingram, the head of environmental health service at Winchester City Council, said the noise abatement notice was served on October 11 last year.

The court was told there had been complaints from neighbours being disturbed by birds ‘crowing and calling loudly and incessantly’.

The first complaints had started in March 2012.

Mr Ingram said: ‘I received complaints from a neighbouring property about excessive crowing from cockerels that were being kept on the site.’

The first noise abatement notice was served in August 2012, but a further one was issued in October when investigations by the council found there were ‘multiple birds’ involved.

Mr Ingram acknowledged that people might keep birds in a semi-rural place like Hambledon, but he said this was a statutory noise nuisance

He said: ‘We have always maintained it’s the extent of the crowing and calling from multiple birds on the site.

‘It’s also three crowing cockerels on the site.

‘There were a number of ducks introduced on the site.’

He said that a crowing cockerel could be heard from 150m away.

Mr Ingram said: ‘We also take into account the nature of the locality.

‘It’s a semi-rural location.

‘It’s the extent and persistence of the crowing that was causing the nuisance.’

He added: ‘There’s one particular cockerel that is particularly vociferous.’

Mrs Rogers, a gypsy, keeps several ponies on the land, which is designated for equestrian use.

Winchester City Council says the noise abatement notice was breached three times, on November 5, 7 and 11 last year.

Officers visited the site and took recordings, which are expected to played to the court.