A Wiltshire birdkeeper has been fined hundreds of pounds after allowing around 40 birds to roam free during a bird flu outbreak.

Ryan Davy, of no fixed abode, was prosecuted by Wiltshire Council for failing to comply with Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) requirements.

The 45-year-old, who kept between 50 and 60 poultry on land near Monument Hill, Devizes, was fined £200 after pleading guilty during a hearing at Swindon Magistrates Court on Thursday, October 12.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £450 and an £80 victim surcharge.

This came after an AIPZ was declared across the UK on November 7, 2022, meaning all birdkeepers were legally required to follow strict biosecurity measures to protect their animals from the threat of avian flu.

The requirements included keeping all birds within fully enclosed or netted areas and covering or netting standing water to prevent access by wild birds.

Among the dozens of poultry kept by Mr Davy were geese, ducks, chickens, bantams, and a turkey.

South West Farmer: The birds near Monument Hill, DevizesOn November 30 he was visited by council enforcement officers who found around 40 of his birds were not housed or kept separate from wild birds, while water was not undercover.

Mr Davy was warned both verbally and in writing that he had not complied with the rules.

A further six visits followed between December and March and identified continued breaches of the requirements.

Cllr Nick Holder, cabinet member for public protection, said: “Last year saw one of the largest ever outbreaks of avian flu this country has seen. An AIPZ was put in place to increase biosecurity and hygiene measures to try and protect our flocks.

“Mr Davy, along with other birdkeepers, was legally required to meet these requirements and put measures in place to prevent the spread of disease and protect his birds.

"However, when it was found that he was not complying, our officers rightly took the breach seriously and acted.”

The AIPZ and mandatory housing measures were lifted across England and Wales on April 18 of this year.

But Cllr Holder has warned birdkeepers to familiarise themselves with the latest guidance and advice.

He added: “Whilst the AIPZ is not currently in place, as the weather turns colder and migratory birds start to arrive for the winter, all keepers should familiarise themselves with the latest avian flu advice from Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

“Please continue to follow hygiene measures as necessary and be vigilant for any signs of disease amongst bird flocks.”