THE Government's environmental body has confirmed it is culling monk parakeets found in Borehamwood.

Four of the South American native birds have been trapped and killed by officers working under The Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA).

With a budget of £90,000 of tax payers money, the aim is to eradicate the UK's feral population by the most humane method appropriate.

FERA say this includes both non-lethal and lethal techniques, but due to factors of “feasibility, practicality and logistics of deployment”, the birds in Borehamwood were not transported to aviaries and instead culled.

Simon Richardson, of Mildred Avenue, feels betrayed by this action.

The 49-year-old lives around the corner from a large communal nest in the back garden of a home in Furzehill Road.

He said: “I regard this information from FERA as a total betrayal of previous pledges and promises made by their officers when they stood on my doorstep in February earlier this year and asked if I would have a trap in my garden.

“They assured me that the birds would be trapped and re-homed in aviaries. They promised that none would be killed.

“Now we are told that the first four birds trapped in Borehamwood have been destroyed. The information received reveals the true nature of this project.”

FERA wrote to Mr Richardson in response to a number of enquiries he had made regarding the operation.

The letter was shown to his neighbours Keith and Mave Russell, of Furzehill Road, who have a nest of around 25 parakeets in their garden.

Mr Russell, 67, said he was absolutely disgusted by FERA's actions.

He added: “To use £90,000 in this day and age is terrible. We're meant to be hard up, but they can afford for people in suits to go round and kill these birds is crazy.”

Mr Russell is sceptical the birds are causing any damage in Borehamwood and could not understand why the agency was obsessed with removing the birds from the wild.

Mike Wray, director of operations at FERA, said: “In other parts of their introduced range monk parakeets are causing problems through damage to electricity utility structures and to crops.

“In England, even at their current small population size, they are causing a hazard to householders due to the droppings below their colonial nests. The current and potential problems are likely to become increasingly significant if the population is left to grow.”

Mr Russell said he was finding it hard to place his trust in the agency's opinion the parakeets need to be culled, when it said the only current problem with them is bird droppings.

His wife added she felt the government agency and its partner Natural England had gone about the operation in a sly manner.

She said: “It's absolutely disgraceful that they've treated the birds like that. If they had come and talked to us about how we could keep the numbers down, we would have opened the garden up for them.”

Mr Richardson added: “These people are civil servants working and paid for by the residents of Borehamwood yet it appears that either knowingly or unknowingly they have told untruths in order to persuade residents to have traps in their gardens.

“Surely these kind of tactics are the domain of a dodgy street corner trader operating out of a suitcase, not a Government department?”

The operation continues.