Tax payers criticise emergency services at Exmouth incident

COUNCIL tax payers have criticised what they believe was an excessive amount of emergency service personnel called to deal with an incident in Exmouth – to free two trapped crows.

Two young birds were trapped under netting on the roof of a building in Manchester Street, to the rear of fast food outlet KFC, at around 1pm last Friday, June 25.

The police, RSPCA, a fire engine from Exmouth, and an aerial ladder vehicle from Exeter, were all drafted in to help rescue the crows.

Barry Drinkall, who works in the York Inn, in nearby Imperial Road, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that so many firefighters attended and a ‘waste’ of tax payers’ money.

The 40-year-old said: “They are funded by the tax payer and, for a relatively small incident, I thought it was excessive the amount of people who turned up.

“I’m not someone who is anti-birds and animals, but it is not like a person was hurt.”

A Journal reader, who did not want to be named, echoed the view of Mr Drinkall by saying it appeared to be a waste of ratepayers’ money.

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“Council tax rates for many areas have increased not so long ago. It begs the question ‘why’ when you see this type of thing happening,” she said.

A spokesperson for the fire authority defended its decision to send the amount of staff it did and denied the suggestion that tax payers’ money was being wasted.

He said: “There was concern that the chicks would die painfully in view of members of the public so one fire appliance from Exmouth attended.

“They determined that the only safe way to reach the birds was to use a hydraulic ladder platform, which was requested to attend from Exeter, and the chicks were retrieved successfully.

“Both the fire engine and the aerial appliance would have responded immediately to a more serious incident had it occurred while they were dealing with the birds. “Part of our role is to offer humanitarian assistance at the request of other agencies.”

The Journal understands the young crows became trapped after getting stuck beneath special netting, on a roof three storeys high, designed to keep seagulls at bay.