An Uckfield church spent many years trying to prevent pigeons messing on their statue depicting a modern-day Christ but at last it seems a solution has been found.
The Catholic church of Our Lady Immaculate and St Philip Neri was the focus of world attention when their sculpture, dubbed Jesus in Jeans by the media, was unveiled in 2009 but pigeons soon made it their favourite perch.
Alan Duncan who, with a colleague, helps with maintenance issues was at the end of his tether after spending considerable funds and much research on different possible solutions to keep the statue clean.
Even anti-bird spikes on the statue’s halo didn’t do the trick but what has worked is a gel fixed to the statue which appears to the birds as flames and deters them from landing.
The sculpture hangs on the front face of the church tower above what was once a disabled access ramp.
At one stage there was so much excrement on the area, from the pigeons roosting on the sculpture above, that the ramp underneath the statue became slippery and dangerous.
And so, as an alternative access was available, the area was re-designed as a flower bed with conifers.
It was Cleankill Environmental Services, which has extensive expertise in controlling pest birds, which came up with a solution after being called in to assess the problem.
Jon Whitehead, director of Cleankill Environmental Services, explains: “The sculpture has a hollow back which created a perfect home for around 20 pigeons. They would nest inside and rest on the halo creating an unsightly and unhygienic mess.”
Cleankill used a special product called Bird Free Gel which they fixed to the statue at certain points, including the halo. The gel appears as flames to the birds so they are discouraged from landing.
Alan Duncan said: “We are all so pleased that Cleankill has solved the problem. We were at a loss as to what to do next. At one point we put anti-bird spikes on various resting places, painting them gold to match the halo. Unfortunately, the pigeons were ‘most comfortable’ with the additions.
“The service from Cleankill was excellent and very professional, including many after-care visits.”
The statue, by Lewes-based sculptor Marcus Cornish, attracted interest from across the globe when it was revealed in 2009. It was unveiled by The Pope’s ambassador to this country, the papal nuncio Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, and the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton blessed it.