TESCO have been branded “pigeon murderers” after gruesome images emerged showing dead birds trapped in netting above one of their stores.
Furious locals claim neither police nor Tesco staff are helping the “desperate and dying” animals, which were pictured on Wednesday tangled in the wire mesh.
Claire Andrews, 55, who took the photos, says that a report was made to the police as early as 7 August regarding the trapped animals but nothing has been done.
The “graphic” snaps show limp, lifeless birds with wire caught around their twisted necks from where they have tried to escape.
The netting is also littered with feathers from where the pigeons have been struggling.
Most cruelly, one bird still appears to be alive but is surrounded by the carcasses of other dead pigeons.
A furious Claire took to social media to expose the issue shortly after taking the photos.
She posted them to Facebook saying: “Sorry about the graphic photos, but I took these today in Church road, Hove.
“Tesco clearly believe they are above the law as despite their legal obligation to release trapped birds and prevent this happening they choose to ignore the law and let them die a horrible death, starving, dehydrated and desperate to escape.”
The images have shocked social media users, and prompted many other to go to Tesco to complain.
Becca Hams wrote to the retailer saying: “The manager has done nothing about the fact you’re murdering pigeons and not had the netting removed.
“When are you going to remove the netting, an absolute disgrace.”
Denise Friend added: “Please can you release the trapped and dying pigeons, remove the netting that is killing them.”
And Joanne Colema said: “Shame on Tesco.”
Speaking today, Claire said: “The poor pigeons. This has been going on for months.
“They put netting up to prevent them nesting, but failed to use netting that prevents the pigeons from entering so the pigeons become trapped and eventually die of dehydration and starvation, desperately trying to escape.
“The Animal Welfare Act 2006 refers to this as an offence and Tesco’s have been repeatedly told.
“I saw one poor little soul at the front trapped and at the back more trapped pigeons behind the bodies of pigeons that had sadly died.
“I saw 4-6 dead bodies which I photographed.
“I returned home and sent them to Dave Lewis (Tesco’s CEO) asking that the birds be freed and the netting removed.
“I also contacted Sussex police and the RSPCA.
“I went back yesterday morning and nothing had changed except another dead pigeon.
“Later in the day, I understand Tesco’s had called Rentokil to remove the bodies. I did not see this myself but as of now birds remain trapped.”
A Tesco spokesman said: “The netting is in place as a safety and hygiene measure to prevent pigeons from accessing the roof space and dropping faeces onto the customer area below.
“Unfortunately the netting became damaged which allowed pigeons to access the space.
“We are working to ensure the netting is repaired as quickly as possible.”
An RSPB spokesman said: “We’re not aware of the specific situation here or why the netting is in place.
“Netting on buildings is legal, but we believe it should only be used where it is absolutely necessary and even then, it should be regularly checked to avoid these kind of gruesome and avoidable deaths”
A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “Sussex Police has received reports from members of the public in relation to a number of birds being found dead in netting at a supermarket in Church Road, Hove.
“We are liaising with the RSPCA, which is offering advice to the store.
“The rural crime team are investigating if any offences have been committed under Section 4 Animal Welfare Act 2006 and will consider if prosecution is appropriate.”