PIGEON poo is putting residents at risk of disease and “excessive build-up” needs to be dealt with, a town council has been warned.

Witham councillors have been told that faeces from hundreds of pigeons roosting in the town centre is causing damage to buildings and could cause disease.

The stark warning came from a Mr Oliver during a town council environment meeting where he said some areas of the town are missed out during cleaning operations.

He said: “People are at risk from disease and this problem needs to be addressed and rectified.”

Last month it was confirmed that an infection related to pigeon droppings – called cryptococcus – was a factor in the death of a child in Glasgow.

Councillors agreed there needed to be a deep clean and said businesses should be encouraged to put deterrents in place to stop pigeons making the town centre their home.

It was suggested at the meeting that Witham Chamber of Commerce should be approached for help on the issue.

Tina Townsend, the chair of the chamber, said: “I think it needs to be a collective approach by everyone in the town.

“It’s an issue which has come up in the past and the chamber has been approached and discussions have been had about how to try and reduce the problem.

“But really there’s only so much that can be done by businesses alone and it has to be a collective approach by everyone in the town.

“So if you’re sat outside Greggs, for example, be careful not to drop food on the floor because you’re just feeding the pigeons.”

Braintree Council said it does weekly deep cleans in the town centre during the breeding season and fortnightly cleans during the rest of the year.

A spokesman said Guithavon Street, between Newland Street and Newlands Drive, and Lockram Lane, from the car park to Newland Street, are steam cleaned in addition to any normal cleaning following complaints.

She said: “Alongside the advice given on cleaning of the town centre, our environmental team will assess the extent of the problem to determine what other steps can be taken to prevent accumulations.

“However it is the responsibility of the building owners to protect their buildings from pigeons.”

Braintree Council says it is not responsible for cleaning the Newlands Precinct.