Police launch hunt for ‘illegal’ peacocks roaming Sussex village

A police hunt has been launched for five peacocks roaming round a Sussex village.

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 2:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th October 2020, 2:25 pm

The birds have been ruffling feathers in Henfield for around a year. Some villagers say the peacocks are a beautiful sight - and others complain of the noise they make and garden mess.

Now Sussex Police have stepped into the fray with officers appealing for villagers to help them catch the birds.

A police flyer has been issued stating that the birds will be ‘humanely dispatched’ if new owners cannot be found - and it’s led to cries of ‘Save the peacocks’ from the pro peafowl faction.

Peacocks are on the loose in Henfield

The flyer states: “Peacocks are non native species and their existence in the wild in Sussex cannot continue due to the potential impact on our native wildlife.

“Current efforts are focused on trapping then rehoming the peacocks. However we must advise that if this cannot be completed, then humane dispatch will be required.”

Sussex Police’s Rural Crime Team is appealing to the villagers to tell them where the birds roost or feed.

A police spokesman said: “Sussex Police are investigating the unlawful release of peafowl into the countryside in and around Henfield.”

And Sergeant Tom Carter, wildlife crime lead, said: “Peacocks are a non-native species and these particular birds have been causing damage to the native environment and nature for some time now.

“They have also been causing distress and inconvenience to some people living in the area, damaging gardens and making excessive noise at all hours of the day.

“It is important that for their own safety and welfare, they are captured and removed to secure sanctuary.

“We are in touch with someone who is happy to assist with this and offer the birds a safe home in the future and we are looking to achieve this as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile many residents have taken to social media to air their views. One woman said: “I’ve yet to meet someone in person who doesn’t find these magical birds bring joy to our currently very restricted lives.

“We need something to come together and smile about. Killing innocent birds is not the way to do that.”

And another posted: “This is so sad. We loved having them up here and they did no damage. Such beautiful creatures. Also sad that some Henfield residents found them a nuisance.”

Another stated: “They are no trouble and shouldn’t be destroyed.”

But one anti-birder said: “In the right setting and properly cared for they are a sight to behold. The ones in Henfield have just become a nuisance.”