WHAT is the strange, high-pitched sound that has been driving Boscombe shoppers mad for weeks, if not years?

The mysterious sound emanating from the Sovereign Centre had prompted speculation from Twitter users that bosses had followed other areas in installing a ‘mosquito’ – an electronic device designed to repel teenagers.

But Sovereign Centre bosses have revealed that the annoying sound is actually down to their pigeon scarer devices – and have pledged to sort out the problem.

The devices were installed around four years ago and have been heard recently by humans of all age groups.

Cllr Lisa Northover, 33, says she complained to a security guard at the centre about the noise last Thursday.

She said: “My sister could hear it for quite a few years but in the last few months I’ve been able to hear it. It’s absolutely painful after a while.

“It’s at the entrance to the Sovereign Centre that you can hear it.

“It is important that people can enjoy the town centre without being put off.”

Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts said he had received a call from a constituent about the problem that morning and questioned whether the noise was a health and safety risk.

“If a lot of people are complaining then it should be put right,” he added.

Katherine Edgar, 42, from BCCA Friends, said she could hear it, adding: “It’s really annoying.”

Bill McPherson , deputy manager at the Sovereign Centre, said the pigeon scarers were necessary for health and safety reasons to stop the birds gathering in the roof space above the café.

The centre had not been aware of a problem but would now takes steps to fix it, he said.

He added: “We will get the suppliers in to have a look at it and if the frequency is wrong we will reset it. One way or another we will sort it.

“The last thing on earth we want to do is stop people coming in to the Sovereign Centre or Boscombe.”