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Dad fined £150 for feeding ducks with bird seed on canal towpath

A dad has been accused of littering after he fed some ducks in West London.

James Watson, 68, was given a £150 fixed penalty notice by Ealing Council for throwing bird feed onto the ground then walking away.

He says he threw the food into the Grand Union Canal in Southall, but the ticket claims it was on a cul-de-sac three miles away.

James’s son Dave said: ‘I am actually a volunteer for litter picking groups in Ealing so when my dad was accused of littering I was shocked. I had brought him the specialised feed to make sure he was helping the birds and environment.

‘We tried to appeal the ticket but there isn’t actually a formal appeal process for a fixed penalty notice.

‘Even though the ticket had the wrong details on, wrong accusations and wrong road, he was still expected to pay it.

‘He almost gave up and just paid the fine because contesting it in court would cost more money than paying the ticket would.

‘It caused him a lot of stress when we knew that purpose duck food is not classed as litter because when it is thrown in the water and eaten the purpose is for it to be eaten, not littered.’

Dave was told there isn’t an appeal process against fixed penalty notices and he would have to contest it in court.

He claims that despite showing officials the difference in locations and pictures of the bird feed used they eventually told him they can write his father a new ticket with the correct charge on, which Dave refused.

A man has been left outraged after he was fine ?150 for feeding ducks in West London. James Watson, 68, was charged the money via a fixed penalty notice, handed to him by a member of the Kingdom enforcement team on March 12 at 9.53am.
Ealing Council said security staff would no longer charge people for feeding ducks (Picture: BPM)

However Dave has now been able to get the ticket cancelled and his dad was excused from paying the fine.

The council apologised to James and Dave and said that from now on Kingdom security staff would not charge people for feeding ducks.

Dave said: ‘My dad has heart conditions and this didn’t help with his stress. I am glad we didn’t pay the charge. Officials were very apologetic about the whole situation and assured me those feeding ducks won’t be prosecuted in the future.’

An Ealing Council spokesperson said: ‘In a densely populated urban environment, food thrown or dropped on the floor can attract mice and rats.

‘The Canal and River Trust approached us to involve our Kingdom enforcement team to consider ways to reduce the amount of food left lying around on the towpath.

‘On occasion this means handing out single fixed penalty notices to those who don’t play by the rules and spoil it for everyone else.

‘This stretch of canal is regularly visited by the Kingdom enforcement team and they’ve received positive responses by most towpath users who understand that we want to keep our towpaths and waterways clean for people to enjoy.

‘On this occasion, we appreciate that Mr Watson was feeding the ducks in the canal and not littering the towpath. We have cancelled his fixed penalty notice, and have apologised to him directly.’

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