Blue tits choose ashtray nest at Cawston’s Ratcatcher’s Inn

Customers at a north Norfolk pub are waiting to see whether baby birds which have recently hatched in an outdoor cigarette stub box will make their first appearance with roll-ups hanging from the sides of their beaks.

'I wouldn't be surprised if they were born with an addiction to nicotine!' said Peter McCarter, landlord of the Ratcatchers Inn, at Cawston, near Aylsham.

A notice has gone up on the stub box politely asking smokers to 'butt out' of using it while the young family of blue tits is in residence.

Mr McCarter said it was lucky that the parent birds hadn't started a fire in the box when they began dragging in nesting material because some smokers didn't fully extinguished their cigarettes when they pushed them inside.

The unflappable parents were also un-fazed by the close proximity of cars to their chosen home which is directly outside the pub's main entrance with cars constantly arriving and departing only feet away.

A second pair of blue tits has also found room at the inn - choosing the roof of a garden heater for their warm and cosy des res.

Their residency has caused Mr McCarter and his staff to alter arrangements for an oriental evening at the pub on Friday. Revellers will now be coming inside before it gets too cold. 'We didn't think it would be very kind to the blue tits to light the heater,' said Mr McCarter.