A Scarborough councillor has branded people who feed seagulls as “stupid” as the seaside council looks for new ways to tackle bird attacks on humans.
Labour cabinet member Tony Randerson made the comments during a meeting of Scarborough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Board on January 15.
He said: “Scarborough is a seaside town, gulls are going to be with us, like it or not. I’d like to draw attention to what I feel is the stupidity of people, residents feeding these gulls in our urban areas and I use the words carefully.
“It is a stupid, irresponsible act to actually feed the seagulls in the urban areas. That’s not the food they should be getting. It’s attracting more and more gulls. It’s a never-ending circle and something we have got to address.”
The remarks came during a discussion of the council’s plans to tackle gull attacks, known as muggings.
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The board had heard that the number of reported gull muggings reported to the council in 2019 was down by almost 50 per cent on the previous year, though a number of councillors said they did not believe the overall number of attacks had fallen.
Following on from Coun Randerson, Green Party Coun Neil Robinson proposed that the council should look into bringing in a bylaw to allow people who feed gulls to be fined.
He said: “I think this is what we need to be doing. We need to be stopping people feeding the seagulls so that the gulls learn that humans aren’t a source of food.
“We need to be looking at a bylaw and an enforced bylaw. The birds do learn and this will help.”
The scrutiny board backed the council’s plans for the next 12 months with a number of measures around gull-proofing buildings, including the council possibly match-funding businesses to help, and public engagement around the feeding of birds to be considered.
A firm will also be employed during the summer to clean areas that are frequently covered in gull droppings.