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Marksman stood down over store bird

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A pied wagtail is trapped in a Tesco store

A pied wagtail is trapped in a Tesco store

A pied wagtail is trapped in a Tesco store

Supermarket chain Tesco has been forced to rethink a plan to shoot a bird which has been flying around one of its stores.

The firm had applied for a licence from Natural England to allow it to shoot the pied wagtail which has been regularly spotted in the aisles of a branch in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, in recent weeks.

However, locals raised concerns about the plans to bring in a marksman with an air rifle to shoot the bird when the stored closed this Sunday.

Nature presenter Chris Packham waded into the debate on Twitter sending a message, reading : "Can I ask you to rethink the shooting of the wagtail in Gt Yarmouth store please. I'm sure the bird could be caught."

A reply from the Tesco East Anglia account said: "We've tried for a number of weeks to catch the bird, definitely our preference to catch and release. Any advice welcome."

After an exchange of Tweets, the company responded to Packham's suggestion that it contact the British Trust for Ornithology and has now postponed the shooting.

It announced the change of heart on the social networking site, saying: "Happy to liaise with BTO, we're going to explore other options over the next few weeks and will keep you updated."

A spokesman insisted shooting the bird had only been considered as a last resort after attempts to catch it had failed.

The RSPB responded to the news, saying: "We've heard from Tesco who are trying everything possible to remove trapped bird for the Great Yarmouth store."

Pied wagtails are normally protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act with anybody who kills one without a licence facing a £5,000 fine.

PA Media