A HUNGRY pigeon is proving a pain for a pasty shop in Headington.

Greggs in London Road was forced to shut up shop temporarily after the bird barged in off the street to have a gander at their goods.

The shop has reportedly received the unwelcome visitor on a number of occasions – and it has also been taking a look at several charity shops nearby.

Cherie Cook, manager of the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity shop in London Road, said: “It is a nightmare.

“It is costing Greggs a great deal of money having to keep closing the shop because of a pigeon.

“But it is not their fault. You can’t blame the staff and I should think they have taken a fair bit of abuse about it.

Mrs Cook , 52, from Headington, added: “They should start selling pigeon pie shouldn’t they?”

Sue Ryder shop manager Hayley Hall, 31, said: “Greggs has been closed a few times in the last three days.

“Sometimes we hear this bump on the windows here as pigeons fly into them.

“I don’t know why they don’t just put closing doors on the front of Greggs.”

Elizabeth Strong, from Headington, who is a volunteer at the Marie Curie shop, said: “It must be disappointing for them having to close all the time.

“A couple of times I have gone to eat something from Greggs and it has been closed.”

Headington resident Keith Shipperly said the pigeon’s behaviour could be explained by several different factors.

He said: “There are probably a couple of hundred pigeons in Headington because there was a lady who used to feed them every day down by the Co-op. I think with the snow and the cold there’s probably not an awful lot of food about, so they will scavenge anywhere they can.

“The best thing Greggs could do is try to close the door and trap it in there when it next goes in.”

He said he was willing to find the pigeon a new home outside the city if staff managed to trap the bird.

Greggs spokesman Peter Woodall confirmed it had to temporarily close its shop on January 21 to carry out professional cleaning after the pigeon got into the premises.

He said: “We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience but this is a necessary procedure due to the risk of our products being contaminated by such birds. We would ask that people do not encourage pigeons by feeding them in the vicinity of food premises.”

Mr Woodall did not confirm if stock had been destroyed or how many times the pigeon had disrupted the business.

But Oxford City Council spokesman Louisa Dean said all contaminated food would have had to be disposed of.

She said: “Shops are required to ensure that all food is protected from risk of contamination.

“Any open (unwrapped) foods that have been exposed to contamination by pests of any description should be disposed of.”

She added: “All food contact surfaces would require thorough cleaning and disinfection.”