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'Attacks by seagulls' stop mail deliveries

Seagulls stopped deliveries to some homes in Maryport. Credit: PA

Royal Mail has apologised for failing to deliver to addresses in a Cumbrian town because of "swooping attacks by seagulls".

Four properties in the town didn't receive their mail on Tuesday 5 July due to the attacks.

These kinds of attacks do occur at this time of year as the gulls are nesting and rearing their chicks. Normal deliveries resumed on Wednesday.

The safety of our people is paramount to Royal Mail and these swooping attacks made it difficult for the postwoman to continue to do her job.

Any customer who has a concern about their mail delivery can contact Royal Mail Customer Services on 03457 740740.

– A Royal Mail spokesperson

Call for drones to tackle seagulls

Credit: Press Association

Aerial drones could be used to tackle aggressive seagulls in a west Cumbrian town.

Copeland Borough Councillor Graham Roberts says the remote-control aircraft should be used to spray gulls eggs with a sterilising liquid to prevent them hatching.

Seagulls have proved a particular menace in Whitehaven over recent months with reports of birds swooping on people, snatching ice cream from children and dive-bombing shoppers in the town centre.

Drones have been used in France to tackle seagulls and Councillor Roberts believes it's time to consider this method of control in Cumbria.

"We have to do something about this. Yes, seagulls are a part of life by the sea but if a child has its eye pecked out we'll get the blame. "When you walk down the harbour with food they intimidate you and are scaring people away. This [the use of drones] has worked in France. Why not here?"

– Cllr Graham Roberts

Copeland Borough Council is set to discuss the seagull issue and possible methods for combating the birds later this month.

“We realise seagulls, whilst a defining feature of any seaside town, do cause problems. Unfortunately the law makes it difficult to cull them, as they’re a protected species. It is illegal to remove nests and eggs or to kill birds because they are disliked, considered noisy or thought to be damaging to property.

“One major thing the community can do to help is to eliminate the birds’ food sources. Don’t feed them and don’t drop food outside. Placing extra waste beside your wheelie bin can also attract them. We’d also ask anyone who can, to come and ask for a wheeled bin rather than bags. They are much more effective at keeping the gulls out and where practical we will accommodate bins.

“As responsible property owners we try to make sure gulls do not nest on our buildings – and we would urge other property owners to do this too. Removing nests before eggs are laid or after the young have flown can help. Our staff can also advise building owners how to stop birds nesting there in the future. Spikes, mesh and other low-cost measures can be effective.

“We continue to survey and monitor breeding pair numbers and hope that, with a combination of the methods above, we can as a community control the problem.”

– Julie Betteridge, Director of Customers and Community Services Copeland Borough Council

Council against seagull cull

The Deputy Mayor of Copeland Borough Council says they're against the idea of culling seagulls.

Councillor Lena Hogg wants the council, and local people, to do more to eliminate the food seagulls eat:

What the council are looking at is eliminating the food source, and that means emptying the bins more regularly, removing any debris or food that's lying about, and we would ask the public to do exactly the same."

– Cllr Lena Hogg, Deputy Mayor, Copeland Borough Council

Does Whitehaven have a seagull problem?

There have been complaints in Whitehaven about seagulls in the town swooping, and even attacking people.

Our reporter Matthew Taylor asked people in the town centre what they think about the birds: