PEOPLE who feed pigeons in Chester city centre are to be punished.

Community safety wardens are to be given powers by Cheshire's Chief Constable, Peter Fahy, which will enable them to hand out fines to anyone caught feeding the birds .

The move comes following years of debate over how best to deal with the problem of the pigeon population in Chester.

Chair of the City Area Committee, Councillor Janet Black, said: 'Pigeons cause the city to look a mess. These new measures will hopefully act as a deterrent and stop people feeding them. Anyone caught feeding them will be given a fine for littering.

'By putting spikes on the buildings and erecting the dovecote we are trying to force the pigeons out of the city centre.

'Feeding them in areas other than those designated means that the idea of getting all of the pigeons to move to the dovecote, where we can take their eggs, is being undermined.

'We don't want to stop people from feeding the pigeons but please do it in the designated areas. I don't want the pigeons to be culled but we need to stop them breeding at this rate.'

Recently the heritage and environment committee of the city council has commissioned a survey to try to figure out how best to deal with the situation in the long r un.

Their findings are currently been drawn together and will go before the committee shortly.

Guy Merchant of the Pigeon Control Advisory Committee, based in Portsmouth, worked with the city council back in 2002.

He said: 'In 2002 we came up to Chester to carry out an observation exercise to find out the best way for the city to tackle the problem.

'The council did not take up our suggestions then but seems to be doing it bit by bit now.

'There is only one effective way of reducing pigeons numbers. A dovecote needs to be erected, spikes put up to stop pigeons having resting places in the centre of the city, fines given to people spotted feeding the birds and re-education.