BRIDLINGTON residents have been giving us their opinions on whether they think the town has a seagull problem.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council has placed signs around the town – especially outside cafes and fish and chip shops – warning people not to feed the seagulls because they can become aggressive.
Amie Brown, 19, of Swanland Avenue, has worked in the Shoe Zone store on Bridlington Harbour since April and says seagulls swooping to steal food out of people’s hands is a regular occurrence.
“There was the gentleman who had to be treated by an ambulance after he had been attacked (Mr Palmer), and another lady came in here a few weeks ago asking where there was a chemist to buy plasters – as she had been pecked by a seagull and was bleeding,” said Amie.
“You can see them swooping down on people and stealing their fish and chips, and sometimes going for people who are putting things in the bin. It causes a lot of panic.
“There are too many of them about – they are a nuisance. I would just shoot them if I had the chance!”
Chris Milner, from Daisy May’s cafe on the harbour, believes that the seagulls “have become vicious” and are not always after food.
He said: “I think they have become quite picky with what food they steal from people, because they are fed leftovers and take what they can from the bins.
“It gets worse in the hot weather when the town is busy, there are hundreds of them.”
Dave Vanner, who works on the harbour, has blamed families who decide to feed the seagulls for what he sees as a “big problem”.
“I tell families not to feed the seagulls because you are simply attracting more and more of them to the harbour, because they know they are getting easy food,” said Mr Vanner.
“Sometimes they apologise and stop feeding them, but other people – especially tourists – just ignore the advice and carry on feeding them or dropping their leftover chips near a bin. Someone will end up seriously injured because the seagulls are becoming more bold.”
Peter Bowes, 32, was visiting Bridlington with his partner and two children, aged five and seven, from Hull.
He said: “I went to put some rubbish in a bin earlier and two seagulls started squawking and flew over. I thought they might go for me so I moved out of the way.
“You don’t realise how big they are until you see them up close, I wouldn’t fancy getting pecked by one!
“It doesn’t really worry me though, they are only birds and you expect them when you are coming to a seaside town.”
Paul Bellotti, head of housing and public protection at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Bridlington is no different to any other seaside resort, seagulls are part of the seaside experience, but we must all be aware that on rare occasions they can be aggressive when protecting their young or finding food to feed them.
“We all love to eat fish and chips at the seaside, and there
is no better place than East Yorkshire to enjoy them.
“Provided we all follow some simple advice of not feeding seagulls and maybe find some cover to eat, and put left-over food in the rubbish bins provided, it will reduce the food supply and strike the right balance between controlling numbers of seagulls and causing problems of nuisance.”