Hickling bird lover puts up sign telling people to 'return to city'

Eric Goleby with bird food
Image caption Eric Goleby, pictured in 2015, said he had now moved his bird feeding stations into his back garden because of the latest complaint

A man, who has been warned about feeding birds in his garden, has put up a sign telling people to "return to the city" if they dislike wildlife.

Eric Goleby, of Hickling, Norfolk, said landlord Victory Housing Trust had written to ask him not to leave food out as it could attract rats.

The 77-year-old, who was threatened with eviction in 2015, said the letter was sparked by a neighbour's complaint.

The housing association said it was working to "resolve" the row.

Mr Goleby said: "I have nothing against city people, but if you live in the country you love wildlife because it is all around you.

"I put a notice in my front hedge saying if people don't like wildlife please return to the city.

"I know in my heart I couldn't tell those people what to do in their garden."

Wife's 'only luxury'

As first reported in the Eastern Daily Press, the widower said he had fed the birds for more than 40 years as his late wife Sally, who had been disabled, had enjoyed watching them.

Mr Goleby, who had been her carer for 24 years until she died last June, said they had been "the only little bit of luxury she had".

"Although she is not here in the house, I have carried on feeding them because the birds have carried on," he said.

In a letter, Victory Housing Trust warned Mr Goleby not to leave trays of bird food on the ground as they could attract rats and other vermin.

Mr Goleby said he had spotted no signs of rats and had now moved his three bird feeding stations into his back garden because of "the trouble".

Victory Housing Trust managing director Christine Candlish said: "We are working with Mr Goleby and his neighbours to resolve this situation for everyone."

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