“Gull mugging” reports have revealed the Scarborough hotspots where residents and visitors are most likely to have their fish and chips snatched.
Scarborough Borough Council set up a “gull mugging” reporting page on their website and since March have received 22 cases of muggings and attacks from gulls.
The data collected has given an idea of the areas where people are most likely to be swooped on by the seaside birds.
The most common locations in Scarborough include Westborough, Foreshore Road, South Bay and Vernon Road.
The council’s agenda says: “13 victims described food being stolen from them by seagulls and the other nine only mentioned being directly attacked by gulls”.
The majority of incidents reported occurred during June and July.
One resident has suggested that the seagulls are looking elsewhere for food since the landfill sites at Seamer Carr, as well as sites in Whitby, Thornton-le-Dale and Bridlington closed.
Malcolm Chambers, of Seamer, used to work at the Seamer Carr land fill site and described the “thousands of birds” which would “gather and wait for the first trucks to arrive on a morning”.
He said: “Maybe the reason why the gulls have become such a problem over the last few years is because they are having to look elsewhere for food since the landfill sites have closed.
“Now they are looking elsewhere for food and have found people who will feed them or leave litter in the town.”
Scarborough Council will be discussing the local gull populations and public nuisance project update. The council has released posters urging residents and visitors to not feed the gulls or drop litter.
A council spokesperson said: “Both of these avoidable habits encourage gulls to think our food is fair game and we need the public’s help to try to reverse that behaviour.”
Scarborough Council is also working with local businesses and premises to proof against gulls nesting.
The Scarborough News is campaigning for a change in the law to manage the populations of seabirds including kittiwakes in the interest of public safety, health and the environment.
A petition has been set up on the government’s website asking for more to be done to take steps to control the population.
Lack of control of the seabird population has led to dangerous food-grabbing swoops on men, women and children, and the creation of a serious scale of mess and stench of droppings in shopping areas, and on pavements, shop buildings and the general environment.
If the petition reaches 10,000 signatures the government will respond to the petition. Any petition which reaches 100,000 signatures will be considered for debate in parliament.
To support the petition visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/165889