SHOPPERS have complained about the large numbers of pigeons around Basildon’s bus station.

They are fed up with the noise and mess made by birds flying around the bus station’s main shelter, off Southernhay.

Complaints have also been made about pigeons swarming around St Martin’s Square and Town Square, also in Basildon shopping centre.

It comes after Peter Townsend, 60, from Pitsea, was banned from running a flower stall in St Martin’s Square, near Argos, because he was also selling bird seed, which people were feeding to pigeons.

Basildon cabbie Ralph Morgan, 68, who uses the taxi rank next to the bus station, said: “There are too many pigeons, particularly around the bus station.

“We usually get some character most days who buys a loaf of bread from Asda and feeds it to the pigeons by the bus ticket office.”

Mr Morgan said the Basildon Town Centre Management Company, which owns the bus stop site and much of the shopping centre, used to employ a man with a hawk to scare off pigeons, but has not seen the hawk for years.

Mr Townsend ran a stall in St Martin’s Square for nine years, before he was forced to leave by the Savills, which manages the plot where he was based.

He argued this was unfair because town centre stores such as Wilkinson still sell bird feed.

A spokesman for Basildon Council said: “We do not receive many complaints about pigeons, but do our best to clean up any mess they make.”

First Buses, which leases Basildon Bus Station from the town centre management company, said it would look into what could be done to improve the situation.

A spokesman for Savills added: “Regardless of the wider pigeon problem, Mr Townsend was moved on because of a breach of the terms of his contract which stated he should not sell wild bird feed.”

The town centre management company was unavailable for comment.