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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April, 2005, 08:15 GMT 09:15 UK
Owls help clean up train stations
Replica owl
The owls will be placed under the stations' canopies
A team of artificial owls has been hired by a train operator to help keep railway stations clean.

The six life-size replica owls have taken residence at Chingford in Essex, Hertford East and Hackney Downs.

The idea comes from operator One, which runs train services between London and East Anglia.

Three false long-eared and three barn owls have been put under the canopies above the platforms to deter pigeons from landing and nesting there.

Rubberised spikes and nets are already used to stop pigeons from roosting at stations, but the company decided to try the owls as an extra measure after Mark Evans from One saw them being used successfully in San Francisco.

Regional manager Gary Finlayson said: "It may sound like a madcap idea but there is a serious side.

"Pigeon droppings can cause real problems at stations.

"Not only are they unsightly and unhygienic, but in wet weather they can make the platforms and steps very slippery, causing a potential hazard to customers."

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