Astounded smallholders have been issued with a Noise Abatement Notice by Wyre Council - because their guinea fowl have been deemed too noisy.
The row over what constitutes a disturbance of the peace of the Scorton countryside has caused consternation for bemused bird owners Maurice and Phyllis Dainty.
They have been given 21 days to make arrangements to remove or relocate their 34 birds or face a possible fine of up to £5,000, following complaints from their neighbours.
Wyre Council has also warned the elderly couple, of Cross Hill Smithy, on Oakenclough Road, that it could take the case to the High Court if necessary to secure “the abatement, prohibition or restriction of the nuisance”.
The couple say they have kept the fowl, along with ducks, hens and other livestock on their 1.5 acre plot for 15 years without any previous complaints.
Maurice said: “Everyone thinks it’s a joke. It’s got past the joking stage. I’m 69 and Phyllis is 71 - we’ve never had anything like it in our lives... We are not going to part with them.”
Phyllis added: “It’s just ridiculous.”
Rebecca Cavies, of Wyre Council’s environmental protection service, wrote to the householders stating: “Evidence gathered during our investigations has established the existence of a ‘statutory nuisance’ due to noise from guinea fowl.”
Her letter included the warning that if they did not comply with the notice: “I would point out that we can also seize any noise making equipment if a breach of the notice occurs.”
The council has advised them to increase the distance between the guinea fowl and the neighbouring property or relocate them away from the properties.
It warned failure to deal with the noise nuisance could also see the council step in to do the job themselves and recover any costs.
Planning consultant and family friend Mel Lawrenson said: “There is a clay pigeon shoot in the next field and they are less than a mile away from the motorway and there are cows and sheep all around.
“They are a registered smallholding - they are allowed to keep these things.”
The abatement notice was dated October 1 and the family has 21 days to appeal to the magistrates court if they wish to contest it.
Meanwhile, the Dainty’s next door neighbours, Helen and Richard Leach, whose property The Old Forge backs on to the Dainty’s smallholding, who complained about the guinea fowl, declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for Wyre Council said: “The council is currently investigating a case of noise nuisance at this location. It would not be appropriate to comment further.”