Gristhorpe demolition stopped as dead birds spotted among debris

File picture of the building. Picture by Sally Brown.
File picture of the building. Picture by Sally Brown.

The RSPCA has stopped the demolition of the derelict building in Gristhorpe over fears that scores of seagulls may have been killed.

The animal charity stepped in on Tuesday July 3 at the Electricity Building in Filey Road, Gristhorpe, after members of the public had spotted dead birds among the debris.

Maureen Murray, a rescue volunteer at Whitby Wildlife, drove out to the site and along with another volunteer gained access to the site through a neighbour's driveway.

Maureen said: “We got five live birds out and two corpses, one new and one old.

“It was disgusting what was happening at Gristhorpe chicks, nests and eggs had rubble on top of them.”

The RSPCA was called out to the site and put a stop to further demolition.

A spokesperson from the RSPCA, said: “We were contacted by a member of the public who had concerns about a number of nesting herring gulls at a site due for demolition in Gristhorpe.

“After liaising with the company, demolition work has now ceased until a full ecological survey can be carried out.

“This acts as a reminder to all businesses to ensure the necessary protocols have been followed before carrying out work to a site where wildlife could be impacted.”

Alexandra Farmer, from Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary, added: “I can’t think how many may have been killed but we think there could have been more than 100 nests on the site.

“It’s shocking, in another four weeks nesting season would be over but instead who knows how many birds and chicks have died.”

North Yorkshire Police confirmed it had been called to the site but added that an investigation was now being carried out by the RSPCA.

All species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

This makes it illegal to intentionally injure or kill any gull or damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.

The site was being demolished by the Rabbit Group. Andrew Lally, of Castle Consulting on behalf of the Rabbit Group, said he was aware of the situation and was working with the RSPCA.