Gallery: Attack of the gulls! Is there such a thing as a “seaside menace” in Aldeburgh?
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
People in the seaside town of Aldeburgh, famous for its fish and chips, are living in fear of dive-bombing gulls after they killed two pets in Cornwall.
They are a familiar sight at the British seaside – particularly if you are carrying a bag of fish and chips.
But while it has not quite reached the horrors of Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds, there is increasing concern at the “aggressive” behaviour of gulls in coastal towns.
Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped in to the debate, promising to raise discussions about gulls in Cornwall after they pecked to death a Yorkshire Terrier and a tortoise in recent weeks.
And in Ireland, senator Denis O’Donovan yesterday demanded a cull of the “vicious” seabirds.
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However, it seems the ferocity hasn’t spread as far as the seaside town of Aldeburgh, where beachgoers on the whole said they did not consider the gulls a problem when asked by our reporter on Monday lunchtime.
Suffolk Coastal District Council introduced fines of up to £2,500 for those caught feeding the seabirds or dropping food litter in 2009.
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“It was in Aldeburgh because there was an issue with people feeding the seagulls,” he said. “Seagulls can get quite aggressive. The intention was always to deter people from doing it rather than us wanting to fine people and it appears to have been quite effective. The vast majority of people respect the signs and don’t litter.”
Gulls are known to become particularly aggressive in the summer when they are nesting, an issue which has caused concern among a number of local residents both inland and on the coast.
Clerk to Aldeburgh Town Council, Ruth Proctor, said: “We encourage people not to feed them and to be mindful that they can be quite aggressive when they have young. They have been a nuisance to some residents when they have nests on the roofs and in the eaves of buildings.”
The Golden Galleon fish and chip shop on Aldeburgh’s High Street includes a message on its packaging asking customers not to feed the birds.
Manager Katy Curling said that while she had had no complaints on the birds from her customers, her cat had been attacked by a gull in the back garden of her Aldeburgh home in recent weeks.
“They are getting brave,” she said.
While Aldeburgh seafront was lined with people enjoying fish and chips on Monday, many admitted they were wary of the gulls.
Joo Hinton had been eating when a gull stole a bit of fish straight from her hand.
Her husband, Mike Hinton, said: “They are pests. It’s fascinating they have got so opportunistic in order to survive. I think there is an issue but I don’t think we can do anything about it.”
Another man, who asked not to be named, said: “They are a damn nuisance. The more they are fed, the more they are encouraged. They are intimidating.”
Have you visited a Suffolk seaside resort recently? Did you consider the gulls to be a problem? Send us your tales, photographs and video footage via email