HUNDREDS of pigeons have been shot dead on a Laindon estate after their numbers got out of control.

The flock has been plaguing the area around King Edward Road after their previous home, the Royal Court tower blocks, were demolished.

The birds used the towers to roost in, but moved to homes, shops and businesses when they were torn down.

Housing association Family Mosaic called in the marksmen to shoot the pigeons after attempts to disperse them in other ways failed.

Claire Turl, 39, of King Edward Mead, said lots of people had complained about the pigeons, but she was still shocked to see them shot down.

She said: “I know the pigeons have caused lots of problems and we have all complained, and that lots of methods have been attempted, but I was very shocked when I got the letter saying they were going to be shot.

“I called the housing association to ask if there was anything else that could be done and I was researching frantically on the internet to see if there was an alternative.”

The King Edward convenience store was badly affected by the pigeons.

A worker at the shop, who didn’t want to be named, said: “They shot lots of the birds from our garden. It wasn’t a very nice sight.

“It was quick, but I wish they could have found another way to do it and get rid of the birds.”

A spokesman for Family Mosaic said two shooters were sent to the estate last Thursday.

He said: “The pigeon infestation problem at Royal Court has stemmed from the demolition of the derelict tower blocks opposite where the pigeons were originally roosting.

“Pigeons do not generally leave an area unless they are under threat, so they head for the nearest highest point which was Royal Court.

“Over the last year, the pigeons have proceeded to cause serious damage to buildings and cause significant distress and problems for our residents.

“We have done everything we can to take control of the infestation, including deterring the pigeons with hawk visits.

“Unfortunately, this did not produce the results that we’d hoped for. We were advised that culling the pigeons was one of the most humane ways of controlling the problem and stopping them from multiplying.

“We have consulted with our residents throughout the process and most showed compassion and understanding.”