Cumbria

Seagull's 'swooping attack' in Maryport delays mail delivery

Post Office card Image copyright Paul Blenkham
Image caption The card was delivered the following day along with the delayed mail

Seagulls have been blamed after postal deliveries in a coastal town had to be abandoned.

A postwoman was unable to reach some letter boxes on Tuesday because of "swooping attacks" by the birds.

A Royal Mail card posted the following day said the street in Maryport, Cumbria had been "inaccessible due to dangerous conditions" with "seagulls" noted as the reason.

Householder Paul Blenkharn said he thought someone was "having a joke".

"I just found it extremely funny - I just can't grasp how a postman or postwoman had been unable to deliver an item of mail due to seagulls," he said.

"I thought somebody's really, really got to having a joke here."

Royal Mail apologised to the four affected households on the street, saying "the safety of our people is paramount to Royal Mail and these swooping attacks made it difficult for the postwoman to continue to do her job".

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Seagulls are now a protected species after a dramatic decline in their population

Senior RSPB conservation officer Tim Melling said gulls only attack when they see people as predators.

"Sometimes if you go near the nest they'll swoop very low, and they'll caw at you, making a noise, but all they're trying to do is push you away because they're frightened that you're going to kill their babies," he said.

Herring gulls were in "serious trouble" and were on the conservation concern "red list" after a 74% decline in their numbers since the 1970s, he said.

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