Neighbour catapulting stones at birds in my garden

  • Hi Tanya,

    It's a police matter

    Taken from the BASC website
    Quote "It is also against the law to discharge any firearm (including air rifles) within 50 feet of the centre of a highway (which consists of or comprises a carriageway) IF in consequence a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered. These offences could be committed, for example, when someone is shooting in their garden close to a public highway and the pellets ricochet onto the highway injuring someone."

    Cin J

  • In reply to Tanya40:

    Hi Tanya,

    Sorry to hear you're having trouble with "numpty" (that's me being very polite) neighbours. I did speak to the police about my neighbour catapulting stones.

    I don't know what the police said to them, but they got a visit from three officers, the catapulting stopped, and all the other low level anti-social behaviours they'd been subjecting myself and the neighbour on the other side of them to have also stopped.

    It's quite concerning that your children can't play in their own garden for fear of being hit with a pellet gun, that in itself is worth reporting somewhere. Perhaps a phone call to your local police saying you're looking for advice on your situation and you'd like to know where you stand will be enough to get them to visit the neighbour. Emphasise that you're scared to let your children play in the garden, that you think he's also been shooting at cats in your garden, and that you find him unapproachable so can't pursue that approach.

    Is the house owner-occupied or rented? If rented then a word with the landlord may be in order. If owned, your local council may have an anti-social behaviour team who could help. We tried the latter with our neighbours but that turned out to be a waste of time, and perhaps made the situation worse, as I took the route that mediation would be the best route out the on-going situation we were all in, but they didn't want to know.

    Good luck. I do hope you get this resolved as it sounds very unpleasant, as do your neighbours.

  • Best of luck, Tanya, and please let us know what happens. I hope you have a good response from the police. As for the wife feeding the birds in their back garden while he is shooting at them in the front, that does not surprise me, unfortunately, because in some places both Starlings and Sparrows are viewed as pests, which was a common view years ago in some places. They are either ignorant of the fact that Starlings and Sparrows are seriously down in numbers (along with huge numbers of other birds), or they do know the facts but still do not want those birds around. That clearly does not justify their behaviour, of course, but may be an explanation (their 'excuse'?!) as to why they do it. Perhaps they hope to limit their bird food to those birds they like! As my grandparents used to say, "There's no accounting for some people!"

    Annie, Congratulations on getting the neighbour to stop being a hazard to life and property. A visit from three police officers would definitely get the attention of and make an impression on not only the people they were visiting but everyone else in the neighbourhood!

    Kind regards, Ann

  • Hi Tanya,     Sorry to hear of your neighbours'  illegal and abhorrent behaviour towards the birds;      I would report this to you local police (Wildlife Crime Unit);    meantime, make notes of day/time of incidents, as long as its safe to do so and if possible discretely take a photo from your upstairs window if you see any evidence of this behaviour which would be helpful in gaining a successful prosecution.    .Having said this, never put yourself at risk if your neighbour might take retaliation against you;   the police wildlife unit would never give out your information but act on what you report  HERE IS A LINK   which may help find the right contact in your area.       Really sorry for the trouble they are causing not only to the wildlife but to you. 


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Thank you all for your replies and advice. It looks like reporting to the police/wildlife crime unit is the way to go. Actually writing it down makes me realise how serious it is not just for the wildlife.

    I’m glad it worked out for you Annie. It sounds similar in the way that there are other generally anti-social behaviours too so it’s hard to confront their behaviour without fear of escalation.

    We’re lucky we live somewhere that has lots of wildlife including birds and we’ve tried to help them along with bird baths and food. We even had housemartins during lockdown but they abandoned the nest. Sometimes the odd heron and sparrowhawk visit too. It’s really sad that the sparrows are seen as a nuisance by some when they’re lovely to watch (even when they’re squabbling).

    I will let you know how I get on
  • Tanya, as others have said firing a pellet gun or air gun in that way is a police matter both as a crime against wildlife and firing a firearm in such a reckless manner


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Annie the catapult itself I think is a bit of a grey area, I do not think they are considered as an offensive weapon despite some being very ;powerful. However just the act of firing onto your property must come under anti social behaviour and as said a police matter.


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • If you can make your way through the legal lingo, have a look at the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985


    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • For many years I held a firearms cert as I was involved in the sport of rifle and pistol shooting, paper targets on a range, and we had to, rightly so, jump through many loops for our certification and things are even tighter now. Air rifles will come under the same legislation so the local police should be taking things very seriously. I was lucky that I lived next door to our local police station and kept my guns in their lock up.


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can