Claims aggressive gulls are targeting passersby in north-east coastal town

The growing menace of gulls in a coastal town has prompted renewed council action to prevent a population boom.

Residents in Stonehaven have voiced concern about the birds after they were seen to be targeting pedestrians.

Hotelier Sheila Howarth was recently the victim of what she called a “deliberate” attack as she left a bakery with a bag of bread rolls.

Now Aberdeenshire Council is seeking public help in an attempt to replicate the successful clearance of 500 eggs from rooftops in Peterhead last year.

Owners of properties in the town centre which have been identified as possible nesting locations for the gulls have been asked to contribute £50 towards the cost of using a specialist company to carry out nest and egg removal.

The authority already takes action at its own properties to deal with the birds, including public buildings and schools, but this only has a limited effect in isolation.

Mrs Howarth said she felt like she was in a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film The Birds when her food attracted unwanted attention.

She said: “It was a deliberate attack to the back of the head.””I had just come out of the baker’s and I felt something hit me. It was actually quite scary – it went and landed on top of a car right next to me at my eye level – and stared at me – it was freaky.

“It was just the way it watched me – these birds are pretty intelligent.”

Kincardine and Mearns area manager, Willie Munro said: “There has to be a concerted and community-based approach over a longer period of time to tackle this problem.

“Every year we get complaints from residents and visitors about gulls in the town centre, in terms of the mess their droppings make, noise, litter strewn from bins, damage to property and vehicles and sometimes even aggressive gulls.”