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Leicester city wardens set up PATROLS to stop people leaving morsels of bread for birds to eat 

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EXCLUSIVE: The bread police! Fury at council bosses in Leicester after litter wardens set up PATROLS to stop people leaving morsels of bread for birds to eat

  • Leicester City Council’s city wardens pounced after a tip-off about the bread
  • They scrambled to the Rushy Mead grassland and removed the four lost slices
  • To prevent further baked goods incidents they have vowed to do ‘early patrols’
  • But move has been liked to communist China and if good use of taxpayers’ funds 

A council is using taxpayers funded wardens to patrol areas to stop people leaving bread for the birds to eat – once even visiting to remove four slices from the grass.

Leicester City Council was likened to communist China this morning as news of the baked goods policing emerged.

Wardens in the 15,962-populated Rushy Mead area leapt into action after receiving reports of the slices on public grassland.

They swooped to remove all trace of the loaf and vowed to conduct ‘early patrols’ to try and stop people doing it again.

The city wardens – believed to be on salaries of around £18,000-a-year – said they would put signs up warning people against feeding the birds.’

But the hardline strategy has backfired, with critics asking whether it is a good use of time or public money.

North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen said they appeared to be taking a tougher stance on bird lovers than lockdown breakers.

He said: ‘It’s like communist China, stopping you feeding the birds. Big Brother is watching in Leicester when you are feeding the birds, it seems. 

The council's city wardens rushed to tackle the four pieces of bread left for the birds on grass

The council’s city wardens rushed to tackle the four pieces of bread left for the birds on grass

Leicester city wardens seen on their Twitter feed

They have vowed to put up a do not feed the birds sign

Some of the city wardens, some left on their social media, have put up the signs, right, before

‘It’s a bit like the lockdowns in Shanghai right now – you can’t feed the birds.

‘Given that Leicester was one of the most locked-down places during Covid, it’s interesting that the council didn’t take that view on rule-breaking on the mayor’s breaking of lockdown to visit his partner.’

Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby apologised in June 2020 for ‘an error of judgement’ after breaking lockdown rules twice by visiting his partner.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance said people would be concerned their money was being spent enforcing something so trivial.

Digital campaign manager Joe Ventre told MailOnline: ‘Local taxpayers are bound to question if this is a good use of their dough.

‘Nobody wants to see litter on their streets, but these waste wardens have to justify their roles to households facing rate rises.

‘Now more than ever, council bosses must ensure they are offering residents the best possible value for money.’

The city wardens have a number of different duties and responsibilities.

Not welcome in Leicester's public areas: the city wardens do not want birds fed with bread

Not welcome in Leicester’s public areas: the city wardens do not want birds fed with bread 

They include reporting environmental issues and have the power to issue on-the-spot fixed penalty notices.

Offences they can punish people for include leaving rubbish around, graffiti and failing to comply with street litter control notices.

Salaries for the job are not published, but similar parking officer roles fetch between £19,650 to £22,129 a year.  

Guidance from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Birds says bread is not harmful to the winged creatures.

It adds: ‘Try not to offer it in large quantities, since its nutritional value is relatively low.

‘A bird that is on a diet of predominantly, or only bread, can suffer from serious vitamin deficiencies, or starve.’

A Leicester City Council spokesperson said: ‘Our city wardens were responding to complaints from residents about this dumped food. People might think they’re helping local wildlife, but it’s more likely they are attracting rats.

‘It may seem like a minor issue but Leicester City Council spent more than £300,000 on pest control last year. Councils up and down the country regularly have to spend their limited resources dealing with pest problems.’

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