People are being fined for feeding seagulls in a Devon town.
Councils across Devon have played their part in issuing a record number of on-the-spot fines for so-called “busybody offences” including feeding seagulls on Exmouth seafront, shouting in Teignmouth, and handing out leaflets in Barnstaple.
Councils have the power to do this through Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs). They can be enforced by police or council officers. Violation is a criminal offence, punishable by an on-the-spot fine of £100, and if prosecuted in a magistrates’ court with a fine of up to £1,000.
Torbay has a PSPO to restrict rogue fishermen landing large quantities of mackerel and leaving rubbish at Hopes Nose and Berry Head.
Torbay Council’s deputy leader Chris Lewis said: “It is important that we protect these unique, beautiful and much-loved areas of Torbay that are so popular with residents and visitors, and make sure they remain safe places for everyone to enjoy, now and for future generations.”
East Devon District Council bans feeding gulls on the beaches at Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Beer and Seaton, and has fined at least one person who has done so.
Research by the Manifesto Club says more than 13,000 fines have been issued nationwide, and more than 150 councils issued at least one penalty in 2022.
The organisation says offences for which people were fined included shouting, which is banned by four councils, and making noise, which is also banned by four councils. There were 22 restrictions on loitering, seven on busking, six for feeding birds and seven for rough sleeping or sleeping in a vehicle.
LDRS by Guy Henderson