CONCERNED residents are in a flap after being repeatedly attacked by swooping seagulls outside a sheltered housing complex.
Residents at Burbank Court, in Hartlepool, say they can’t leave the building without the large birds plunging down and pecking at horrified passers-by.
The postman in the area has even been forced to do his round with a large stick in tow ready to fend off any of the swooping gulls.
Worried Robert Orton, 70, has lived in the complex seven years but says the situation has gradually got worse over the last two years.
But since a handful of baby seagulls appeared outside the complex last month, residents say they now can’t go in or out of the building without the large seagulls attacking.
Robert, a dad-of-four who lives in the complex with his wife, Patricia, 64, said: “It’s beyond a joke now and something has to be done about it.
“A lot of pensioners live here and it’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured.
“Patricia is recovering from a broken leg and she’s walking with a stick but she’s having to use it to fend off the seagulls.”
Robert says friends and family have even stopped coming to visit him in fear of the seagulls attacking as they approach the building.
The retired machine driver said: “There are dozens of them and they are always here.
“As soon as you go out they come down, a lot of the time they attack from behind and they are big things, it’s not easy to fight them off.”
Robert is now hoping some form of deterrent can be found to keep the seagulls away - or at least to stop them attacking.
He added: “Something needs to be done, it can’t carry on like this.
“I have seen those model replica hawks which are put on buildings and scare the seagulls away but I don’t know how expensive they are.
“We used to have a lot of pigeons in the area but at least they didn’t cause any harm but the seagulls have been going for them and scared all of them away as well.”
Liz Morgan, marketing officer for RSPB Saltholme on the outskirts of Hartlepool, said: “This is a problem at this time of year as it is nesting season, but thankfully we are approaching the end of that now.
“The gulls are very aggressive as they are very protective of their chicks. When the chicks are nesting it isn’t an issue, but as they get older and leave the nests the gull follows them and that’s when you get problems in highly populated areas.
“People will feel the full force of their aggression, but we’re almost at the end of the nesting season now so hopefully it won’t be a problem for much longer.”