'Seagull cull is not the answer to dive-bomb attacks on our chips'

James Morrison of Audrey's Fish and Chips believes a cull isn't the answer to the nuisance seagulls.
James Morrison of Audrey's Fish and Chips believes a cull isn't the answer to the nuisance seagulls.

MPs this week claimed coastal Britain is “plagued” with a seagull problem during a Westminster Hall debate.

Members alleged “swooping” gulls were terrorising residents in seaside towns and cities.

They even claimed armed vigilantes were taking to the streets and shooting the protected birds.

James Morrison, who proprietor of Audrey’s Fish and Chips, on Queen Street, has plenty of experience with the seabirds.

He said: “I think it’s becoming an increasing problem.

“They can be more bold in their actions and are quite aggressive and that’s the problem.

“They are becoming more used to human contact.”

During the debate on Tuesday Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) said locals have been “wandering the streets” of the picturesque seaside town near the Scottish border to kill the birds.

Tory MP Oliver Colvile (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) said the birds have attacked pensioners, leaving them needing hospital treatment, and terrorised communities.

Mr Colvile did not call for seagull cull – but suggested measured be taken to reduce their numbers.

This can include introducing dummy eggs seagulls are tricked into thinking are their own and try to care for, proofing buildings and ensuring weekly bin collections, he said.

And James of Audrey’s Fish and Chips is also opposed to a cull, adding that it is the responsibility of humans to solve the problem.

He added: “I don’t think there needs to be a cull. The town benefits from trade that comes from bird watchers coming here.

“It’s a really tricky balance to try and strike.

“We need them as a tourist town, but in fairness there’s very little you can do without taking serious measures.”

However James did say residents and visitors can take simple steps to reducing the nuisance birds.

He said: “Some people don’t finish all of their food and just chuck their chips on the floor. It just encourages them to keep coming back.”