Commuters travelling through east London train stations may see a large bird of prey - but it's part of a trial to keep them free of pigeons.

To deter the birds from settling in the rafters and rooftops, rail firm c2c has employed Keith the Harris Hawk its “chief pilot” in a test using birds of prey to control pigeon populations.

The hawk is not there to kill the pigeons but to scare them away, a spokesperson said.

Romford Recorder: Keith at Upminster StationKeith at Upminster Station (Image: c2c)

"Keith the Harris Hawk has joined the team on a three-month trial as a method of controlling pigeon populations at our stations,” a c2c spokesman said they added.

“This is cheaper, cleaner and a much more natural way to control the pigeons.

"Keith is trained to scare the pigeons away via his presence and scent alone and he does not kill them or interact with them.”

Keith, who is supplied by Kent-based firm South Eastern Pest Solutions, has already been at Upminster station and will also visit Barking among eight other c2c stations during the trial.