Fine people who feed seagulls on Sunderland sea front, say readers

Herring gull
Herring gull
Have your say

People who encourage seagulls on our seafront should be fined, Echo readers have said in a poll.

Reports of gulls stealing food, making a mess and even attacking passersby are regularly heard in Sunderland, with calls to crack down on the problem.

Another seaside community has decided to tackle the issue of gulls at what it believes to be the source - those who feed the birds.

East Devon District Council has banned the practice under a Public Space Protection Order, with the threat of £80 fines for those who continue to give the aggressive animals food.

And a poll of Echo readers found 72% of you feel a similar ban should be introduced here - though there were mixed views on the issue of gulls among those commenting on our story.

Bob Jackson said: "Definitely. They're just a pest. Especially fine people who decide to throw food for them near where families are sitting and have no consideration for others."

Janet Madley said: "People who feed them encourage them. My little girl was attacked the other while eating pizza."

Judith Young said: "I put food out for the birds one morning and before any of the birds landed, the seagulls were hovering. So I went back out picked it all up and put it in the bin."

Margaret Crosby said: "They do give local people a lot of trouble! Perhaps if there wasn't so much rubbish lying on the streets for them to forage on..."

Some of you went even further, calling for a cull.

Elaine Mather said: "Yes, (and we need a ban) in the town centre as well. There should be a cull on them. You cant sit and have a pastie or sandwich with out them all coming beside you and it's scar. The gulls are very intimidating."

Pauline 'Bowden' Peel said: "I hate them. I was covered in their muck one day. Had to go to the ladies and wash my hair. Disgusting things. Definitely need a cull."

Margaret Harrison said: "You haven't got to fed them they pinch it off you. Vile things. Definitely need the numbers reducing."

Anita Armstrong added: "I saw a gull yesterday eat a cup cake whole wot a kid dropped. Nearly knocked me over swooping down to get it."

However, not all of you were behind culling gulls or banning people deeding them.

Margy James said: "I didn't feed them, and one just took it. It's been going on for years. What are they going to do? Kill all seagulls? That would be so wrong."

She added: "This is stupid. You go to beach to have fish and chips or have a picnic on the sand. What happens? The flipping seagulls attack you - they eat anything.

"We live in a seaside town. We have them, you cant stop them - it's nature. When are humans going to stop killing things just cos we dont like what they do? One day nature's going to pay us back."

Alan P Thompson said: "I think Sunderland got a lot of problems. No-one really cares about seagulls. The council need focus on what's important."

Maria Smith said: "They are called SEA gulls for a reason , live and let live."

Susan Deal added an alternative anecdote about the city's gulls.

She said: "We have a seagull at work, we call him Geoffrey. He's been around all year, walking around the parade, before he could fly.

"When I pull up in my car he's there when I get out, then I feed him and he stands right beside my feet. I'm a bit concerned now that he might think everyone would be nice to him and someone might not be. I hope he finds a mate and flies about more."