Ipswich: Trader’s pigeon shoot sparked an armed response by police

A frustrated shop owner is today more than �200 out of pocket after he was slapped with a fine for using an air rifle to clear pigeons from his backyard.

Anatoliy Voloshyn, from the Rasputin store in St Matthew’s Street, was trying to scare the birds off when a stray pellet smashed the window of the nearby BT Exchange in Portman Road.

The drama prompted police to send firearms officers and a tactical response unit to the scene after the alarm was raised by a member of the public.

The 59-year-old, of Whitehouse Road, Ipswich, was charged with criminal damage after the incident, which happened at around 11.30am on Tuesday, October 18.

A spokesman for the food store said Voloshyn had become frustrated by the amount of pigeon mess at the rear of the premises.

He appeared at Ipswich’s South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage.

Prosecutor Emma Howson told the court witnesses working at the exchange heard four or five shots before a hole was smashed out of the window.

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The spokesman for Rasputin, speaking after the court case, said up to 15 pigeons had been known to gather at the rear of the store.

He added: “He [Voloshyn] regrets it thoroughly, he had no idea he’d targeted them.

“When the police told him there were people inside the building he was horrified.”

District Judge David Cooper handed Voloshyn a �235 fine, including �150 in compensation for the damage to the window.