A PUB in Sully has backed down on a decision to block off a dovecote, after intense public outrage.

The Captain’s Wife Public House in Beach Road, Sully had blocked holes in a dovecote on their grounds.

The move, which trapped a flock of doves outside for several days and potentially blocked in young birds, had been described by residents as an "appalling case of animal cruelty”.

A spokesman for the Captain’s Wife said: “Following internal consultations and a review of our original decision we will be reopening the dovecote today. We will be making contact with a local bird rescue group so we can work with them to resolve the situation.

“Our original decision to block the dovecote was made on the grounds of health and safety and hygiene, because of the large amount of pigeons and total number of other birds using the dovecote which was creating a seriously unhygienic environment. Please be assured in this process it was our intention and priority that no birds were harmed in the blocking of the dovecote.

“On reopening the dovecote we will be increasing the number of cleaning visits by our hygiene experts to monitor the situation until, working with the local bird rescue group, we have established the best possible solution.

“We understand this could have been handled better in the first instance and we should have engaged with the local community before a decision was made, and for that we would like to apologise.”

Ray Gravenor, from Caerphilly Bird Rescue, went to the venue on Tuesday evening to offer to rehouse the birds.

He said the owners of the Captain's Wife called the police.

Mr Gravenor said: "They blocked the holes a couple of days ago. It's shocking, as the home for the birds has been built over 150 years. I still don't understand the decision behind it - it seems such a bizarre and hostile move from a pub right before Christmas.

"The doves been out in the rain for a couple of days now. On Tuesday night I tried to open up the dovecote mesh and the police were called, and I was accused by the owners of trespassing.

""I just think the change of plan is absolutely fantastic. It was the wrong decision in the first place and the birds have been there longer than the manager.

"They've sent us an email and they've conceded. Everything's sorted, the birds are going to be alright and that's what's important."

A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said: "South Wales Police attended The Captains Wife public house in Swanbridge on Tuesday evening, after concerns were raised about a planned protest at the location.

"On arrival, officers found a small number of people had gathered to discuss their concerns with the pub’s manager. No offences were committed."

But the initial decision has still incensed the community.

Angry residents "review bombed" the pub online, with a number one-star reviews left on websites like TripAdvisor.

Christine Allbrighton said: “The owners of the pub blocked the holes in the dovecote, and had netted the doves in I believe, which caused suffering.

"We want a favourable outcome for the doves, and don't want them killed or destroyed for no good reason."

Neil Hopkins said: "It's absolutely preposterous. I've been going to the pub for years and I won't be going again because of this appalling case of animal cruelty.

"Surely there had been a more humane way to deal with this?"

Wendy Caswell said: "There is an uproar. At the least they should have an explanation prior and had them moved correctly.

"So much for the dove being a symbol of peace and happiness. I'm not happy for those poor things."

Michelle Barbery said: "The birds are currently clinging on for dear life in this horrendous weather.

"The pub think they will just fly off and make a nest - they wouldn’t and last night were distressed and trying to get back into the dovecote."

Sharada Ali: "It is one level of cruelty blocking off the doves’ home possibly with babies in there but it’s another level of evil not to allow rescuers in the property to save the doves."

Bob Brown said: "Hundreds of people were distraught at the suffering that these birds have had to endure."