Sunday 23 October 2016

Seagull poisoned in 'revenge attack' as David Cameron to start 'big conversation' on spate of gull attacks

Lyndsey Telford

Published 20/07/2015 | 07:47

A seagull has been poisoned and dumped in a police station yard in an apparent revenge attack against the birds following a recent spate of gull attacks.

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Police and the RSPCA launched an investigation into the “senseless” poisoning in the seaside town of Bridport, Dorset.

It comes after David Cameron said he wanted to start a “big conversation” about an increase in attacks by the aggressive birds on people and pets.

Seagulls killed a dog in Newquay, Cornwall last week, leaving what was described as a sight “like a murder scene”, while a tortoise was pecked to death in nearby Liskeard.

MPs were prompted to call for a change in the law which would allow the protected status of the birds to be axed in order to able to control their population in urban areas.

The poisoned seagull was discovered in a “near death state” at Bridport Police station and the RSPCA was called to look after both it and its chick.

Scott McGregor, from the local police force, described the scene as “distressing”.

"Whether you love them or loathe them, one of our resident seagulls here in Bridport is suffering following a suspected poisoning,” Mr McGregor said.

"The seagull had vomited considerably and when the RSPCA were sent out it was their view that the bird was poisoned.”

He appealed for information on the poisoning, adding: "Seagulls are protected for a reason and there is no need to poison them, causing them unnecessary cruelty and suffering."

Meanwhile, the Wiltshire town of Devizes won a licence from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to begin smashing more than 600 eggs on rooftops to stop huge squawking seagulls poo-bombing homes, cars and washing lines.

Hundreds of residents signed a petition calling for hordes of aggressive gulls blighting the town centre to be dealt with.

Councillors responded by getting permission to call in pest controllers to conduct what is believed to be the largest purge of seagulls ever seen in England.

Families say huge flocks of gulls nest on their rooftops in the sleepy Wiltshire market town, even though it's nearly fifty miles from the sea.

Licences to "disturb" or damage wild birds' nests are only granted by Defra if it can be shown there is a serious public health risk.

Councillor Laura Mayes, who fronted the campaign to take action against the nuisance birds, described them as “the neighbours from hell”.

In the March budget, £250,000 was pledged for a research project into "aggressive" seagulls. However, following the general election, this was judged to be “low priority” and funding was axed.

But the Prime Minister said last week that he wanted to take action – “whether there is a need for a cull, what should be done about eggs and nests and the rest of it,” he said.

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