‘Vicious’ seagulls are getting ‘seriously out of control’, says Sidmouth resident

The number of seagulls attacking people in Sidmouth is getting ‘seriously out of control’.

Those are the words of one resident, who says she has been witnessing the birds becoming more ‘aggressive’ and ‘fearless’ in their attacks, when hunting for food from the hands of unsuspecting pedestrians.

Sally Blake, of Woolbrook, contacted the Herald to raise her concerns and to call for more warning signs about feeding the birds, and for something to be done to stop them breeding.

The 60-year-old said: “The seagull situation in Sidmouth is seriously out of control and something needs to be done.

“They are becoming more aggressive and are fearless. They are very vicious.

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“Last week, I witnessed a group of students walking past the Sidmouth Triangle, each carrying a sandwich or pasty in a bag.

“A seagull swooped and grabbed one of the girls’ lunches. I then bought my own pasty for lunch, kept it in the bag with several serviettes disguising it, and decided to sit on the beach, in the sun and surreptitiously ate it.

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“Within seconds a seagull had appeared from nowhere and grabbed the bag. I won’t be doing that again.

“The other day I also saw a group of girls running away from the birds, shielding their ice-creams, it was like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

“Gone are the days where children can walk around enjoying their ice-cream in the sun in Sidmouth.”

The mother-of-two said there was only so much the councils could do when tourists and locals continued to feed the ‘greedy and dangerous birds’.

She added she had also recently witnessed a woman, in Blackmore Gardens, feeding the seagulls with a bag of bread. Sally said: “When told she mustn’t feed them, her reply was ‘mind your own business’.

“The seagulls have become lazy and would rather snatch a sandwich then catch a few fish from the sea. Please help eradicate this problem by not feeding them, not eating your lunch where they can see you – a wall behind you will deter them – and taking a photo of anyone you see blatantly feeding them. The council needs evidence before they can fine people.”

An East Devon District Council spokeswoman said: “Our observations are that, in fact, the number of gulls around the seafront has declined significantly in the last five years but even a few gulls will be opportunistic so people do need to be vigilant.

“This has become natural gull behaviour over many years and not something that can be completely controlled by human intervention.”

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