Call for feeding fines and a cull on gulls to clamp down on 'rats with wings' in Hartlepool

Herring gull
Herring gull

People who feed seagulls should be fined - and the council should undertake a cull of the seabirds, readers have said.

We reported how Hartlepool Borough Council is launching a crackdown on gulls after problems with attack fears, food "muggings" and bird-droppings.

A new awareness and education campaign is underway to help tackle the problem at what the council says is its cause.

At the same time, East Devon District Council has banned people feeding gulls under a Public Space Protection Order, with the threat of an £80 fine for those who continue to give the aggressive animals food.

And a poll of Mail readers found 72% of you feel a similar ban should be introduced in Hartlepool, where a council report said some people see feeding seagulls as an acceptable alternative to putting their rubbish in bins.

The ideas prompted a mixed reaction from readers commenting on our Facebook page - some even calling for a cull.

Wendy Addison said "About time too. My lovely friend got attacked last year totally unprovoked, dive bombed her, her head was bleeding and running in her eyes. It was a terrifying experience."

Sharon Bolton said: "If people stopped feeding them, put rubbish in bins, and the council employed someone at peak times to empty bins instead of the bins over flowing then this itself would help with the problem."

Jayne Young said: "On two separate occasions I've had sandwiches taken from my hands by these rats with wings and that was only walking along the marina."

Christine Verrall said: "I think it's time there was a cull on these scavengers. They are coming further and further in-land. They were really bad in my street last year, they had young and they were walking about the street, so any time anyone went near them walking up street you were attacked by mother seagulls. They are really dangerous."

Jo Heslop said: "My little boy was attacked on the marina while he was eating a sandwich. They bit his finger and knocked him over onto the road. Ridiculous and dangerous."

Joanna Blair Henry said: "Laburnum Street is really bad. They scream all night because the babies are walking about. Cull them."

However, some of you were quick to defend our gull population.

Nigel Stonehouse said: "Before everyone gets on their high horse and declares all out war on the seagull. The UK population has plummeted over the last decade indicating the marine ecosystem in crisis so they are having to look else where for food."

Geoff Hare said: "Leave the gulls alone they are Gods creatures and only protecting their young anyone who harms the gulls should be punished."

Neil Boreland said: "(Are they) going to close the landfill site? That's what has attracted the seagulls to Seaton in the first place."

Louise Angel said: "You live at the seaside, they are natural scavengers, the council take less to the tip... this is bound to happen."

Eileen Flounders said: "Maybe because the seas are fished out . They can't go to Tesco for food. They are opportunists and seek food where they can.

"Would like to see what we would be like if we had to hunt for food."