Wyevale slammed for robin killing

Wyevale faced consumer boycott calls after a controversial cull of a family of robins at the Thornbury store propelled the retailer into the headlines.

The story created such a flap that it became a mainstay of Radio 4's agenda-setting Today programme, alongside the latest news from Iraq and Westminster, prompting a huge listener reaction.

One listener wrote on the Today Web site: 'I urge everyone to protest against the Wyevale Garden Centre chain after they engaged in this nasty act of slaughter ... How can they be a company that believes in ecology when they indulge in bird culls?'

No comment was available from Wyevale about the level of complaints received or any impact on sales. In a statement, the retailer apologised for 'any distressed caused' by the extermination of the adult robin and two nestlings.

It said they had posed a food safety risk by flying around the store's restaurant.

The statement said Wyevale was forced to act under the terms of the Food Safety Act 1990.'This legislation states that the sale of food contaminated with bird droppings is an offence, ' said the statement

Eperon Consulting reputation management expert Alastair Eperon feared the story could be damaging for Wyevale.

He said: 'The extent of the coverage is bound to leave a number of the shareholders and investors feeling uncomfortable.'