A 17-YEAR-OLD chef says his family and the community will be left devastated if Greenwich Council makes him get rid of his cockerel Terence.

Ellis Hart, of Inigo Jones Road, Charlton, has been keeping chickens with his neighbour George King for around three years.

They began with two hens called Cluck and Duckling and, two-and-a-half years ago, they got Terence.

But, following what Ellis believes is one complaint about noise from a neighbour, Greenwich Council officers visited Mr King’s home where the birds are kept in a garden coop.

To their shock, the pair were told they had just two weeks to get rid of Terence.

Ellis said: “When we first got them we asked the council for permission. They said as long as they’re in your garden and there aren’t too many it should be fine.

“Now they say we have two weeks to get rid of him.”

Greenwich Council insists that cockerels are not allowed in the homes of its tenants and that Terence should never have been living at the property in the first place.

News Shopper: Ellis Hart, George King and Terence But Ellis said: “It’s not fair to the birds.

“If he goes I don’t know what the hens will do.

“I’ll be upset because I brought him up from the day he cracked open his egg.”

According to Ellis, the cock crows around seven times in an afternoon, with occasional bursts after that. But he insists the community are fans of his chickens.

He said: “I’ve been up and down the road asking the neighbours if the noise has affected them.

“One neighbour said that when they first heard him, it was annoying but they love it now.

“The dogs and the birds make more noise than he does.”

The chickens were bought for their eggs, but also because Ellis is an animal lover. He says that children from the area sometimes come to look at the hens and he often gives away the eggs to visitors.

Ellis said: “My 61-year-old neighbour’s been crying. Everyone’s very attached to them.”

News Shopper: Terence “The rules are clear”

A spokesman for Greenwich Council said: “The rules around keeping animals in council properties are clear and form part of tenancy agreements.

“Hens can be kept under certain circumstances that safeguard their well-being, avoid nuisance to neighbours and make sure vermin are not attracted.

“The keeping of cockerels is not allowed because they instinctively make noise which is not appropriate in built up environments and can cause a nuisance to neighbours.

“Following noise complaints we visited the property and Mr King was informed of the rules which mean that unfortunately the cockerel can not be kept at the property.

“We would like to meet with Mr King and help him come to a solution which provides a long term home for his cockerel.

“We are happy that the hens are being well cared for and we have no objection at all to them remaining at the property.”