FISHERY bosses have apologised to neighbours after they employed a gamesman to shoot birds on its land without informing residents.

People living close to Curley’s Fishery, in Wallsuches, Horwich, were shocked to hear several gunshots on Wednesday night.

They were distressed when they saw Canada geese being shot and contacted the police.

But officers had been informed by a pest controller the gamesman employed by the fishery would be shooting the birds so the police did not attend.

The RSPB confirmed it is legal to shoot Canada geese, under a general licence, as long as it is to prevent the spread of disease or damage to livestock or food.

Helen Kershaw, who owns the fishery with husband Steve, said they were forced to take action because the number of geese had increased and the site was covered in faeces.

She added: “Obviously we had got permission to do this but we realise we made a major error in not consulting our neighbours.

“We used to have about 20 geese but now there are 120 and it is causing us problems.

“We looked at alternatives but cannot think of a more humane way than to shoot them. We realised afterwards the distress this could have caused to neighbours.”

She said four geese were killed.

Letters are now being sent to nearby residents to explain what happened and apologise for any upset caused.

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I think this is totally unacceptable, even if it is legal. No notice was given to residents and there are children who live round here who were terrified at hearing gunshots.”