Published: 06:00, 20 April 2019
Julie Andrews famously sang feed the birds when she played Mary Poppins, but one lady has been stopped doing just that.
The Chatham resident used to enjoy feeding the pigeons bird seed when she took a break from her job in the town's High Street.
But she has had to stop after she was given a letter from Medway Council banning her from doing so.
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The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I have done it for about six years.
"There’s not one seed left on the ground, I don’t throw an excessive amount down.
“People kick them [the birds] and hit them with sticks.
"I stand there with them and stop mindless thugs from kicking them.”
The woman used to work as a team leader in an environmental protection department, which involved issuing people with fixed penalty notices for littering.
She says she is one of number of people who feed the birds in Chatham High Street, adding: “There’s no signs against feeding the birds.
"I don’t walk away from it, you have to drop the litter and walk away from it for it to be an offence.”
In the UK there is no official statutory definition of litter but it is most commonly assumed to include materials improperly discarded.
The maximum fine for littering is £2,500, and fixed penalty notices between £50 and £80 can be issued.
Sarah Valdus, head of environmental services at Medway Council, said: “We issued a woman with a community protection warning after receiving complaints about an individual leaving food out in a public place.
“We spoke to the individual but unfortunately she would not listen to our advice and said she would continue to leave food in the high street.
“Feeding birds in our town centres is discouraged as leaving food on the ground can encourage vermin and cause animals, such as pigeons, to become a nuisance.
“Everyone has a responsibility to help keep Medway clean and tidy.”
More by this authorKatie May Nelson