Scavenging gulls are giving schoolchildren a bad name, a head teacher has claimed.
Shona Sellers, recently appointed rector of Peterhead Academy, said the town’s notoriously large herring gulls were raiding bins around the school – and her pupils were getting the blame for the mess.
Now she is calling for Aberdeenshire Council to look into the possibility of using “scurry-proof” bins to keep menacing birds at bay.
In a letter to Peterhead Community Council, she said she had reminded schoolchildren to put away their rubbish in bins – but the gulls were simply taking it straight back out.
“I was quite concerned the other day when after the bell, I personally put rubbish in a bin at the entrance of Prince Street,” she said. “I went out 20 minutes later to find a seagull had pulled this out of the bin and was rummaging through the waste.
“Any passing member of the public would have thought this rubbish would have been dropped by the pupils, which sheds a poor light on the school.”
Mrs Sellers added that she would welcome any consideration of bins designed to make life difficult for thieving birds.
Mrs Sellers wrote to the watchdog group after chairman John Brownlee asked for her views on the town centre’s long-standing gull problem.
Mr Brownlee said: “It’s well known that seagulls are a problem in Peterhead, as they are in most seaside towns. But its a problem that’s being looked as best it can.”
Earlier this summer, a survey revealed some people were staying away from the town centre because they were afraid of being dive-bombed by gulls.
Peterhead and other north-east coastal towns have made numerous attempts over the years to legally curb the gull population.
A robotic falcon was tried in Fraserburgh in 2003 but instead of scaring the birds, it became a curiosity for them.
Eight years ago, recordings of birds in distress were used in the Broch, but people complained that the deterrent was louder than the gulls themselves.
Aberdeenshire Council has also tried hiring experts to remove nests and prick eggs to help control the population.
A spokeswoman said a litter picker was based at the academy to clear up any mess during term time.
Gull-proof bins are currently used in coastal towns, including Peterhead, in locations where birds are known to be a problem.