York & North Yorkshire

Birds of prey plan to cut North Yorkshire 'gull-muggings'

Seagull in Whitby Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The council said the birds of prey were "specifically trained not to kill our local gulls"

Birds of prey could be used to scare away gulls in North Yorkshire seaside towns.

The introduction of hawks and falcons is being considered as part of plans to reduce the number of so-called "gull-muggings".

Scarborough Borough Council has asked officers to formulate a plan for councillors to consider.

Other measures being introduced include removing eggs from gulls' nests and introducing no feeding signs on bins.

In September, a council report said 22 people in Scarborough, Whitby and Filey had been attacked by gulls during the previous six months.

"Gull-muggings" can involve birds swooping down to steal food from people or birds "directly" attacking individuals.

Image copyright Scarborough Borough Council
Image caption An information campaign to stop people feeding gulls is to be expanded

A council committee has asked officers to investigate using birds of prey and employing a specialist company for a period of six years to manage the programme.

Birds of prey would be "specifically trained not to kill gulls" but simply frighten them off, the council said.

In addition, the authority would increase the use of gull-proof netting on buildings and bridges and expand a campaign about not feeding gulls.

Last year, plans to fine people for feeding gulls were ruled out by the council as "counter-productive".

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