Gulls: boy hurt as action still awaited

Grandson latest victim of swooping seagulls.
Grandson latest victim of swooping seagulls.

A young boy has been injured by a swooping gull grabbing his sandwich as attacks grow without any protection for the public.

Gulls swooping on residents and visitors have become an everyday sight about the town and the seafront.

The dangerous swoops continue as urgent action is still awaited by Scarborough Borough Council which is still officially insisting that more netting on buildings is the answer despite weeks of lobbying.

One resident, who signed The Scarborough News petition for the council to take urgent action to better manage the gull population, spoke of her dismay at watching her grandson attacked by a gull. Linda Beardsley, of Eastway, said: “A gull swooped down and stole my grandson’s sandwich. This took place in Vernon Road. My husband struck out at it with his walking stick. The gull then set about my husband.

“My grandson was very upset and the gull’s beak had broken the skin on my his hand.”

The council has been told it cannot claim that there are legal obstacles to action. The area’s MPs have both heard from the Department of the Environment that action CAN be taken on the grounds of public safety.

In a letter to Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill, Therese Coffey, Under-Secretary of State at the Department of the Environment, has confirmed that councils can act. Mr Goodwill said: “I contacted the Department of Environment a few years ago and the reply I got at that point was negative ... but letter I have just received from Dr Coffey is much more positive – and indeed specifically mentions gulls fouling and attacking individuals – which is exactly the problem we have in Scarborough.”

Tourism councillor Andrew Jenkinson has been calling for something to be done. He said: “If we destroy nests and eggs and do it for two to three years we will reduce the herring gulls without doing anything to harm them.”

But the council has no action imminent and continues to respond that it wants more building netting and strong refuse sacks. To help ensure council leaders act to protect the public, sign the petition – visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/165889