‘Seag­ull could have killed me’

The Scarborough Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - by sam jones sa­muel.jones@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @SJonesRe­porter

A Scar­bor­ough man has spo­ken of his shock as a pair of gulls cut him in an at­tack as he worked 20 ft up a lad­der.

Alan Brai­d­ley, 74, was clean­ing the gut­ter on the Cen­tral Tramway Sta­tion build­ing in the town cen­tre when the at­tack un­folded, and is now call­ing for more se­ri­ous ac­tion from the bor­ough coun­cil to com­bat the gull prob­lem.

“I could have been killed,” he said. “I could see there was a gull nest. I was try­ing to keep out of the way but as soon as I looked away one hit me and drew blood. It was painful. I could’ve come off the lad­der or

it could have taken my eye out.”

Ini­tially in­sist­ing that net­ting on build­ings was the only an­swer, the bor­ough coun­cil fi­nally in­tro­duced a £36,500 pro­gramme of dis­per­sal fol­low­ing a cam­paign from The Scar­bor­ough News and its read­ers who de­tailed record level of dan­ger­ous gull food­snatch at­tacks and in­juries on chil­dren and adults.

But Mr Brai­d­ley said that he is yet to see any im­prove­ment in the prob­lem posed by gull at­tacks and nui­sance.

He added: “This is do­ing lit­tle to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion. I un­der­stand that they are em­ploy­ing birds of prey to scare the gulls away from the town, well they should be aware that a pair of Pere­grine Fal­cons have been perched on the Grand Ho­tel on and off for the past few weeks, they have ig­nored the gulls, and the gulls have ig­nored them.”

Dis­miss­ing the coun­cil’s com­mit­ment, he said: “I think some­thing more se­ri­ous needs to be done, and quickly, be­fore some­thing ter­ri­ble hap­pens.”

Jonathan Bram­ley, bor­ough coun­cil en­vi­ron­ment and reg­u­la­tion man­ager said: “We have sym­pa­thy for any­one who has been the sub­ject of a her­ring gull mug­ging or at­tack and would en­cour­age them to re­port the in­ci­dent to us via our web­site scar­bor­ough.gov. uk/seag­ulls or by call­ing us on 01723 232323.

“Her­ring gull eggs and nests con­tinue to be re­moved by our con­trac­tor, NBC En­vi­ron­ment, as part of the dis­rup­tion and dis­per­sal pro­gramme, which be­gan in the spring. Peo­ple should be aware this is not a ‘quick fix’ and will not stop the prob­lems overnight.”

NBC En­vi­ron­ment is fo­cus­ing on seafront and town cen­tre lo­ca­tions in Scar­bor­ough and Whitby, where ev­i­dence has shown that nui­sance from her­ring gulls is at its worst.

It in­volves the re­moval of her­ring gull eggs and nests from build­ings in the se­lected ar­eas and the use of birds of prey as de­ter­rents.

Mr Bram­ley added: “The dis­rup­tion and dis­per­sal pro­gramme is only part of the so­lu­tion and we will soon be im­ple­ment­ing new sig­nage in key lo­ca­tions, ask­ing the public not to feed the gulls and not to drop lit­ter, both of which en­cour­age the gulls’ scav­eng­ing be­hav­iour.”

Tramways main­te­nance Man­ager Alan Brai­d­ley re­flects on his seag­ull at­tack ex­pe­ri­ence at the Scar­bor­ough property. Pic­ture: Richard Pon­ter 173208f

Tramways main­te­nance man­ager Alan Brai­d­ley had a lucky es­cape

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