Hen-pecked gardeners plan fightback

GARDENERS have formed their own “defence” committee after accusing allotment administrators of hen-pecking them over their cockerels.

Plot holders in Wath are getting organised after the threat of enforcement action by the Rotherham Allotment Alliance.

The alliance says cockerels are a noisy nuisance and it is illegal to keep them in allotments, and have threated that “appropriate action” will be taken if the birds are not removed.

That viewpoint has enraged plot holders who met up at the site last week and are planning to form an official group to oppose any removal or action against the male birds.

Alan Jones, who lives near the Beech Road land, said: “Anybody who tries to get on my allotments and destroy the birds well, they had better look like Mike Tyson!

“I am an ex-miner at Manvers and Silverwood pits and I don’t scare easy.

“A dozen people met up at the allotments and it is clear the alliance has got a battle on their hands.

“Will the RAA or Rotherham Council try to fine us? I don’t know but is it in anybody’s interest to take me to court?

“I am 64 years old and I have been going up there for 60 years.

“My mum is 85 and she says there have always been cockerels there.

“It is a cheap way of replenishing  your chicken stock.”

Asked if cockerels were a noisy irritation for locals first thing in the morning, Alan (pictured) said: “I have done my own survey, I went out knocking on doors and not one person said: ‘Get rid, they are nuisance’

“So we are not getting shut of them.

People on the site without livestock are backing us 100 per cent because they are wondering what they are they going to hit us with next.”

Alan said another local allotment holder in Mexborough had seen the story on the cockerels’ plight in the Weekender and pledged that she would be keeping her own roosters.

“We have got around 200 ‘signatures’ on Facebook telling the alliance to leave the cockerels alone,” he said.

“People think this is just about the RAA flexing their muscles.

“We are going to stand up to them.

“They’ve bitten off more than they can chew with us we are not going to back down.”

The RAA insists the Allotments Act 1950 states cockerels are not permitted on sites, and plot holders are only allowed to keep hens, rabbits, and bees.

“RMBC have never allowed cockerels on the sites,” said the organisation, which bears responsibility for the management of all allotment sites and plots previously managed by RMBC, some 1,000 plots.

“If a statutory nuisance is deemed to have been committed, tenants are liable to be fined by RMBC.

“Cockerel noise falls into the noise nuisance category.”

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