Holidaymakers and seaside residents could be fined for feeding seagulls under new council powers in an effort to stop the birds attacking people.

East Devon District Council said people who feed the aggressive animals could be hit with an £80 fine as part of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

The ban comes after much debate about how to tackle what has been described as a "scourge" on Britain's seaside areas.

Iain Chubb, East Devon District councillor, said while gulls are an important part of the coastal environment, their behaviour could be problematic.

A file photo of a person feeding seagulls. Credit: PA

He said: "You like to see the birds, it's a nice part of the landscape, but you just don't want them to be aggressive."

The fines are aimed at addressing cafes and restaurants who do not dispose of waste food properly as well as habitual feeders, he added.

"It's more a fine for where there is, say a catering establishment with bad practice of disposing of food, or there are little old ladies who like to go down and feed the seagulls.

"It's one of those things where, if you've got somebody who is habitually feeding seagulls, it's something to say you shouldn't be doing this, there is a fine at the end of the day.

"There aren't going to be the police out looking for people throwing chips at birds, that's for sure."