Moray is facing an ‘epidemic’ of unruly seagulls that is completely ruining leisure time for people out and about in the summer sunshine.
That is the conclusion reached by an Elgin man who has made a passionate plea for action, highlighting incidents involving gulls literally stealing food from the hands of toddlers.
Clarky Mitchell posted a plea to Moray Council on their social media page asking what can be done about the problem, insisting that people are not able to enjoy food in the open air on Elgin’s High Street without coming under “full scale attack”.
Mr Mitchell said: “Our 16-month-old baby was attempting to eat a sandwich in her pram when one of these vermin of the skies persistently tried to grab it from her in an aggressive manner.
“The damage that huge beaks could do to a child – especially if they have food at their mouths – is unimaginable, an eye could easily be lost.
“We proceeded to watch various people across the Plainstones being terrorised time again before packing up and heading to the Cooper park.”
However, Mr Mitchell said that even there they could not escape, adding: “Upon arrival we witnessed some poor woman sitting with her very young children about to enjoy a lovely sunny picnic, when low and behold her entire sandwich bag was snatched from her side.
“Visibly upset you could easily see a simple family picnic was ruined by the seagull vermin problem which is driving the whole town insane.
“If it were rats or the likes it would no doubt be swiftly dealt with. This is no different – these creatures need culled and population control imposed as soon as possible.”
Attacks from seagulls, in particular during their breeding season, is now commonplace in most Moray communities. A female postal worker in Elgin came under attack two years ago every time she attempted to deliver mail to 30 homes along Muirfield Road.
That brought about a delivery ban during which Royal Mail asked customers to collect their mail from the local post office.
In the past Moray Council have said their hands are tied by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which protects Seagulls.
However, as a result of his plea Mr Mitchell will meet with the head of environmental services at Moray Council on Wednesday to discuss the issue further – and he insists there are ways that action can be taken.
He told insideMoray: “I have I believe found loopholes in the whole protected species ammunition Moray Council keep throwing back at me.
“Licences can be easily obtained to cull if there is sufficient threat of bodily harm to the population which there certainly is. Some of the horrific experiences people have relayed to me are almost beyond belief.”
The council website details the law on Gulls and other wild birds which dictates the strict legal conditions under which any action might be taken.
Complaints over the activities of Seagulls should be reported to the Community Safety Team at Moray Council.