VILLAGERS have rallied against calls to shut away beloved peacocks following a protection warning notice issued by Maldon District Council.

Over 20 peacocks, owned by Frances White, of Nipsells Farm Lodge, Mayland, have been allowed to roam free around the village for several years.

However, Maldon District Council have received over 12 individual complaints that the birds are causing a nuisance, and have issued a Community Protection Warning Notice.

The owners have until July 22 to contain the peacocks to prevent nuisance to residents.

The news has sent shockwaves across Mayland’s community. Many believe the birds have caused no trouble. A Facebook campaign has been set up in protest of the notice, which now has over 1,200 supporters.

Nipsells Chase resident Wendy Mason Crosbie said: “They may seem threatening, but they're not vicious. No one has ever been attacked by one.”

Ms Mason Crosbie said the peacocks would be at risk from fox attacks if they were forced to be contained at the farm.

She added: “It’s a catch 22 situation. If they were to be clipped they would be at risk from fox attacks, and as they are now wild they do not go back to the farm, so they can't be contained."

Of the peacocks that live in Mayland, residents have managed to rehome six of the males to a sanctuary in Braintree.

Linda Webb, who has lived in Mayland for over 30 years, said: “I am so sad to see the atmosphere that now prevails, condemning such beautiful birds that are part of our village life for just being.

“Nipsells still maintains that lovely village feel - of which the peacocks are so much a part. To kill or take away these birds is unthinkable.”

Fellow resident Lindsey Jones added: “The peacocks make Mayland different from other villages in Essex, and no doubt the country. Why take away our individuality and their existence?

“Animals of any kind can be a problem, but why live in a remote village if you’re not tolerant of animals whether free or domesticated. They bring colour, vibrancy and a distinctive flare to our village. Surely as a community we can find a better solution.”

A spokesman for Maldon District Council said: “The Council has received over 12 individual complaints from residents of Mayland, some of whom are very vulnerable, about the nuisance being caused by the Peafowl.

The Council has a duty to investigate these complaints and as a result, we have issued a Community Protection Warning Notice which states that the owners need to take steps to deal with the nuisance and seek advice from professional experts in this field.

“We are not asking for them to be culled, but we hope the owner of the peafowl acts responsibly in this case and takes the necessary action to prevent the ongoing nuisance and reduce the distress this matter is causing.

“Failure to do so will mean that we may issue a Community Protection Notice under the Crime and Policing Act 2014 and if this is not complied with, it may result in further action being taken.”

Owners of Nipsells Farm Lodge were unavailable for comment.