Bird scarer gets youth in a flap

Youngsters have been left reeling from a sonic deterrent aimed at scaring away pigeons from a shopping centre.

The bird scaring device at Westgate Shopping Centre in Stevenage has been blamed for causing ringing in young shoppers’ ears – despite being supposedly inaudible to humans.

The device, which emits a high pitched sound intolerable to birds, was installed on the Queensway entrance canopy by new Westgate owners WD Ltd as part of a revamp of the centre, replacing pigeon spikes and netting as a bird deterrent.

But children and young people complained to staff that the noise was hurting their ears. More mature shoppers could not hear it.

Centre manager Tina Bennett said staff were accused of installing an anti-youth device aimed at stopping loitering.

“This was definitely not the case, as we have never experienced any problems with youths congregating around the centre in the past,” she said, adding: We have spoken to a number of young customers and it does appear that their ears are susceptible to the noise. Unfortunately, I do not appear to fall into that category, as I personally could not hear a thing.”

The device has been switched off and will be removed.

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Mrs Bennett said: “It is now back to the drawing board to find a suitable solution to deter pigeons from our property. In the meantime, I would like to remind shoppers that there are signs in the town centre asking for them to refrain from feeding the birds, which only encourages them into the town.”