by Dave Barry
Signs asking people not to feed gulls have been installed on the seafront in Scarborough, Filey and Whitby.
The signs, which feature bold illustrations and simple but strong messages, aim to curb human behaviour by drawing people’s attention to the consequences of their actions.
One shows a teenage boy being swooped on by a herring gull alongside a message saying ‘Stop attacks - never feed the gulls’.
The other shows a group of herring gulls descending on a part-eaten box of chips abandoned on a beach, carrying the message ‘Stop scavenging - never drop litter’.
The signs have been erected in high footfall areas along the seafront in Scarborough and Filey and close to the harbour and piers in Whitby, targeting places where people eat take-away food and access beaches.
Jonathan Bramley, Scarborough Council’s environment and regulation manager said: “It has become increasingly evident in the last few years that there are a number of factors contributing to the behaviour of the herring gulls and the problems associated with them.
“While controlling egg and nest numbers to start to bring the herring gull population down to a more manageable number is one solution, we have to tackle one of the biggest problems, which is human behaviour and how it is teaching gulls that taking human food is acceptable”.
Cllr Bill Chatt, council cabinet member for public health and housing, added: “I urge people, whether living at the coast or visiting, to take note of the new signs. Don’t be tempted to feed the gulls, no matter how much they try to persuade you, and please remember that the beach is not a dustbin that will simply clear itself after you have left.
“Please pick up your litter, including unwanted food, and either place it in one of the bins nearby or take it home with you to dispose of. Tackling the nuisance caused by gulls isn’t just the job of the council or local businesses; it is a collective responsibility that we all have to commit to if we want to bring about positive changes in the coming months and years”.
Scarborough Athletic Football Club’s mascot, Steven the Seagull, is pictured with Cllr Chatt on Scarborough’s south beach and with Mr Bramley on Filey’s Coble Landing.