Drop a chip and get fined �2,500!

DROPPING a chip in Aldeburgh could be a very expensive mistake.

Rebecca Lefort

DROPPING a chip in Aldeburgh could be a very expensive mistake.

New signs put up in the popular seaside resort warn holidaymakers that they could be slapped with a �2,500 fine if they feed the gulls

Town chiefs say the move has been introduced to combat the nuisance caused by the big birds which hungrily scavenge for leftover food given any opportunity.

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Jimmy Robinson, chair of the town appearance committee of Aldeburgh Town Council, and the former mayor, said: “People complain very bitterly about the seagulls and the more people feed them, the more they come.

“They are certainly getting more sure of themselves, they sweep down and take food out of people's hands.

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“So the signs are common sense. Apparently it's worked in other towns.”

Anti-gull signs were first erected in Aldeburgh in 2007 asking people not to feed the gulls - but the new signs which warn of the hefty fine were put up a few months ago.

The fight against the pests started after scared holidaymakers reported unnervingly close shaves with the birds in scenes reminiscent to Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film, The Birds.

While councillors said the raucous cries of the birds wheeling overhead gave residents and visitors sleepless nights.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council, which put up the signs after discussions with Aldeburgh Town Council, said: “The town council contacted us because they were concerned with problems caused by swooping gulls.

“The fine is a littering fine, and the maximum fine that a person could be threatened with if a case went to court.

“If it got to that stage it means they would have ignored the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty notice beforehand.

“We will use common sense when applying this. It is meant to be used as a deterrent.”

Aldeburgh Town Council said it was unaware of anyone yet being given a fine for feeding the gulls.

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