A Scarborough man has spoken of his shock as a pair of gulls cut him in an attack as he worked 20 ft up a ladder.
Alan Braidley, 74, was cleaning the gutter on the Central Tramway Station building in the town centre when the attack unfolded, and is now calling for more serious action from the borough council to combat the gull problem.
“I could have been killed,” he said. “I could see there was a gull nest. I was trying to keep out of the way but as soon as I looked away one hit me and drew blood. It was painful. I could’ve come off the ladder or it could have taken my eye out.”
Initially insisting that netting on buildings was the only answer, the borough council finally introduced a £36,500 programme of dispersal following a campaign from The Scarborough News and its readers who detailed record level of dangerous gull food-snatch attacks and injuries on children and adults.
But Mr Braidley said that he is yet to see any improvement in the problem posed by gull attacks and nuisance.
He added: “This is doing little to improve the situation. I understand that they are employing birds of prey to scare the gulls away from the town, well they should be aware that a pair of Peregrine Falcons have been perched on the Grand Hotel on and off for the past few weeks, they have ignored the gulls, and the gulls have ignored them.”
Dismissing the council’s commitment, he said: “I think something more serious needs to be done, and quickly, before something terrible happens.”
Jonathan Bramley, borough council environment and regulation manager said: “We have sympathy for anyone who has been the subject of a herring gull mugging or attack and would encourage them to report the incident to us via our website scarborough.gov.uk/seagulls or by calling us on 01723 232323.
“Herring gull eggs and nests continue to be removed by our contractor, NBC Environment, as part of the disruption and dispersal programme, which began in the spring. People should be aware this is not a ‘quick fix’ and will not stop the problems overnight.”
NBC Environment is focusing on seafront and town centre locations in Scarborough and Whitby, where evidence has shown that nuisance from herring gulls is at its worst.
It involves the removal of herring gull eggs and nests from buildings in the selected areas and the use of birds of prey as deterrents.
Mr Bramley added: “The disruption and dispersal programme is only part of the solution and we will soon be implementing new signage in key locations, asking the public not to feed the gulls and not to drop litter, both of which encourage the gulls’ scavenging behaviour.”