York & North Yorkshire

Scarborough issues fine warning over seagull feeding

Poster campaign Image copyright Scarborough Borough Council
Image caption Large posters are part of a number of measures being used to tackle the problems posed by seagulls

People who feed seagulls on the east coast of Yorkshire could face fines if they ignore new warnings urging them not to do so.

Signs in Scarborough, Filey and Whitby are part of a number of measures being introduced to cut the number of so-called "gull muggings".

These involve birds stealing food or attacking individuals.

Councillor Bill Chatt said fines could not be ruled out if the problems persisted.

"I hope people will take notice [of the signs] because the next thing down the line is to start introducing fines," he said.

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From March 2016 to December 2016 36 incidents of "gull-muggings" had been reported to the authority.

The new signs have been erected in high footfall areas along the seafront in Filey and Scarborough and close to the harbour and piers in Whitby, specifically targeting places where people congregate to eat takeaway food and access beaches.

Image copyright Scarborough Borough Council
Image caption The warning signs are being placed in high footfall areas

The council also began a one-year trial disruption and dispersal programme in March which included the removal of herring gull eggs and nests from buildings and the use of birds of prey as deterrents.

Jonathan Bramley, environment and regulation manager, said: "While controlling egg and nest numbers is one solution, we have to tackle one of the biggest problems, which is our human behaviour and how it is teaching the gulls that taking human food is acceptable."

The council has previously ruled out imposing fines claiming it would be "counter-productive".

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