A dog walker has expressed disgust after seeing a bird corpse on display, but those doing it say it is merely a form of scarecrow.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, regularly walks his dog on the footpaths that run through Haverhill Golf Club, and saw the macabre sight of a seemingly crucified crow while walking on the path that runs from the railway line in Sturmer past Pope Mill to beside the golf club entrance on Coupals Road.
At first he thought it was a sick prank, but was concerned that it had not been removed after he saw it a week later.
It now transpires that it is in fact a form of scarecrow being used by the club to deter rooks from the course.
“I saw this little cross, around 50 metres away from the footpath, and thought it looked peculiar, but then the next weekend I walked by again and it was still there,” said the man.
“I thought it was a disgusting prank and I was surprised that with everyone playing there it hadn’t been taken down.
“There’s children playing on the course regularly on what on earth example does it set leaving out a carcass?
“I have seen farmers hanging crows from their sides as the crows take pheasants’ eggs and young chicks so the crow’s cries scare away others.
“That’s not pleasant, but at least it’s in the countryside and in this instance the birds is tied to a cross in a form of crucifixion.
“It’s pretty morbid.
“I suppose they can do what they like as a private club but this isn’t pleasant, and is that the sort of thing they want to be displaying on the course?
“I think they have a duty not to display offensive things, even if it is a private members’ club.”
After learning that it was in fact a scarecrow rather than a prank, he added: “If this sort of thing is an old habit then it’s about time it was given the boot.
“It’s a shame that they’re happy for people to see this.
“Why are they trying to keep crows off the course?
“They’re part of the countryside and there’s tens of acres of land.
“I don’t think it’s going to stop anything and seems a rather dubious practice and I just find it rather odd.
“Given that we’re approaching Easter I imagine that Christians who see it may be offended too.”
The committee of Haverhill Golf Club said: “The golf club uses scarecrows in order to prevent damage to the golf course caused by rooks.”
A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Birds (RSPB) said that although such a display is likely ineffective, it is not illegal.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects crows as well as all other wild birds in the UK.
It is illegal to take, injure or kill a crow, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.
There are one or two exceptions to this, notably prevention of serious agricultural damage and protection of public health.
Before anyone resorts to lethal methods, the law requires that non-lethal methods should be tried first to resolve the conflict
The spokesman said: “It sounds unpleasant to display a corpse but it isn’t covered by legislation.
“It’s also unlikely to work.
“I can’t imagine why people would want to play golf on a course where it’s got dead birds on display.”
The Echo was unable to spot the bird while walking on the public footpath the runs through the golf course and thus confirm that it is a genuine corpse.
The pictures shows that it has been tied to the cross and not nailed.
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, March 20) Echo.