A councillor has urged Scarborough people to “reclaim the streets” from divebombing gulls, who he claims are blighting the town with mess.
His call for action has been backed by fed-up seafront traders, who claim the birds are a “menace”.
Cllr Andrew Jenkinson is set to take his call for a humane cull of the gulls to Scarborough Town Hall – although the RSPB claim any such action should only be used as a “last resort”.
Cllr Jenkinson has canvassed opinion and he says the feeling in the town is that “enough is enough”.
“The mess is disgusting, and the smell is worse,” said the Newby representative.
“I love animals, but the whole situation is getting out of hand.”
He’s calling for “humane” methods of curbing the number of gulls in Scarborough, such as egg or nest removal.
His comments come at the height of the summer, with thousands of visits flocking to Scarborough each week.
Cllr Jenkinson is concerned that the ever growing menace of the gulls could deter visitors to the town, citing one recent example of a tourist who had her newly-permed hair fouled on in the town centre as she was inspecting a restaurant menu.
Other people have spoken of having food snatched from their hand.
“They are coming further inland, messing our town, and at the end of the day, Scarborough is a place that relies on tourists visiting us - tourists don’t want to be messed on. The gulls are becoming more brazen, aggressive and more of a nuisance – we are being blighted by them and people will stop coming.”
Renewed calls for a gull cull have been backed by a fellow councillor David Jeffels, who believes the problem is now so serious he has raised the need for action with council officers.
“The state of the pavements is unsightly and offensive to both tourists and residents, “ said Cllr Jeffels.
“The footpaths are not only very badly fouled but became dangerous and smell when it rains and pedestrians could easily fall, causing injury.”
South Bay traders have told The Scarborough News that they want Scarborough Council to take more action to put an end to the birds they feel are “ruining” the seafront.
They claim the gulls:
• Leave them out of pocket by fouling on stock
• Force them to start work hours earlier as they have to wash the stained pavements
• Leave children scared as they aggressively swoop down to steal chips and sweets
As we were speaking to tradersm The Scarborough News witnessed a bike crash in Foreshore Road, as two cyclists swerved out of the way of a divebombing gull.
Durham pensioner Pete Cleary was visiting with his grandaughter for the day. He said: “I was sitting on the beach, and one of them just swooped down and stole a chicken leg straight out my hand.
“They are definitely getting bigger and more aggressive.”
A teenage girl was tapped on the shoulder by the wing of a gull which then instantly snatched the doughnut she was eating as she turned round.
Newcastle Packet landlady Kath Duffy says she would back Cllr Jenkinson’s proposals “100 per cent”.
She’s asked the council to install larger signs on the seafront urging people not to feed the gulls. Currently, there’s just one postcard sized sign.
She added: “There are more seagulls now than I have ever known. You look at the state of the seafront, how can Scarborough be proud of that?”
A spokesperson for the RSPB admitted that the birds can sometimes cause problems.
But replying to calls for a cull, they said: “A cull should only be carried out when all other possible options have been exhausted. It really is a last resort.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Should the gulls face a crackdown? We are asking you to voice your opinion in our free Scarborough News vote.
Text SNW Gull followed by either Yes or No to 61500.
Alternatively tweet your vote to us @thescarboronews, or share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.
You can also email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org