Bird of prey tackle Helston college's seagulls

Harris Hawks are being flown around the school to scare the gulls away

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Birds of prey are being used at a school in west Cornwall to deal with increasing attacks by seagulls.

Students at Helston Community College say the gulls are a menace and follow them around during breaks, hoping to steal their food.

Harris Hawks are being flown around the school's grounds once a week to scare the gulls away.

The school said it had tried a number of measures to try to scare off the gulls but nothing seemed to work.

Maintenance manager, Richard Coode, said: "The seagulls are quite vicious. They come down and attack and take whatever they want.

"They won't stop until they get what they want. There haven't been any bad incidents, but the kids have had some scratches from the seagulls pecking at them."

Teachers said they responded by making sure that rubbish was picked up quickly and even put fake owls on the roofs.

Student Jessica Sneddon said: "It's mainly on the field at lunchtime. If you put your food down next to you, you will get a load of them coming down attacking for the food."

The school is hopeful it may have found a solution in the form of Richy Hicks who trains and owns Harris Hawks.

Mr Hicks said: "With the amount of gulls that are here it can take up to three years to slowly move them out.

"It's moving them slowly but they are eventually going. They are getting the message."

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