Kids to be warned as gull attacks increase in Scarborough

Seagulls in Scarborough
Seagulls in Scarborough

Warning labels on chip trays and talks in schools are just two of the ideas proposed by Scarborough Council for 2018 to battle the menace of gull  attacks on people.

Following on from a Scarborough News campaign the council brought in birds of prey and removed eggs from nests in a bid to cut down on the attacks and mess caused by the birds.

Despite the efforts, the number of attacks on people has risen in the last 12 months, leading to further action being planned for 2018.

A report to go before the authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday states: “The council have continued to monitor and evaluate data submitted via the on-line ‘gull mugging’ reporting form.

“This was launched in March 2016 to enable victims of seagulls, who were either directly attacked or had food stolen from them, to inform us so an evidence base could be established

to assess the size of this problem. From March to the end of December 2016 a total of 36 such reports were made to the council.

“So far in 2017 (from January to October) a total of 38 incidents were reported, of which four occurred from January to the start of March 2017.

“Although slightly more reports of ‘gull muggings’ have been notified to the council so far in 2017, compared to 2016, it is important to note that the online form was not launched until the third month into


“Furthermore, it is quite conceivable that this facility is better known now compared to when it was launched, so visitors/residents may be more likely to report issues they encounter.

“In total, 56 out of the total of 74 reports of gull muggings came from the Scarborough area. A further 16 came from Whitby and one each from Fylingthorpe and Filey.

“The most common locations where reported muggings took place in Scarborough were on Westborough (13), around seafront sites (18) such as Foreshore Road; the Quay; and South Beach. In Whitby these were on Pier Road or Battery Parade (9).

“Fifty victims described food being stolen from them by seagulls and the other 24 mentioned being directly attacked by gulls.”

The majority of the attacks took place in June, July and August.

The council is now looking to secure the £35,000 investment needed to fund the 2018 actions.

This will include going into schools to warn young children about the risks posed by the gulls and feeding them.

Manufacturers of fish and chip takeaway trays and boxes will also be approached to put warnings about feeding the birds and littering on the packaging.