PLANS to control the number of seagulls in Kirkcaldy High Street are set to get underway this month following a growing number of complaints about attacks in the town centre.
Kirkcaldy4All is to work with pest control specialists Ecolab to try to combat the problem over the next few weeks.
The move comes after a rise in reports of shoppers and workers being attacked by gulls scavenging for food and protecting their young.
Complaints have largely centred on people, including young children, who have just bought food only to have it snatched out their hands by hungry gulls.
Locals are now calling for action to deal with the problem before someone is seriously injured.
Leeanne Paul (26), who lives in Overton Mains, Kirkcaldy, told The Press she has been a victim of swooping seagulls twice.
She said: “The first time I was at the bus station, I’d just been to Baynes the baker and got a roll for my breakfast.
‘’I’d almost finished it when a seagull came from behind and put its feet on my back while it snatched my roll - then used me as a springboard to fly off!
“It also chomped my fingers, which was quite sore, but didn’t break the skin thankfully.
‘‘The second time I had a steak bake and it came from behind again, knocked it from my hand onto the ground and picked it up from there.
“I know things have been done to discourage breeding, like replacing the eggs with porcelain ones, but it’s not enough. There are far too many of them, and they are huge.
‘‘There needs to be a cull or get a hawk in at the very least to scare them off because they will seriously injure someone one day. It shouldn’t be allowed to get that far for the Council to do something about it.”
Laura Black said her 16 month old son was eating a sandwich when a seagull snatched it out of his hand. It was only when a passer-by tried to bat the bird away that it eventually left her son alone.
Bill Harvey, manager at Kirkcaldy4All, said plans to deal with the problem have been in the pipeline for the last few months, but couldn’t go ahead until the necessary licences were granted by the Scottish Government.
He said: “We are aware of the problem in the High Street and are set to work with national company Ecolab as part of a three-year rolling programme which will start between now and the end of May.
“Fifty-five buildings within the Bid area have been identified - subject to the approval of the owners - and our aim is to limit the number of seagull chicks being born.
“We realise there have been far more attacks in the town centre and the High Street - the gulls are very smart. Some of these attacks have been physical with the gulls flying very low and stealing food.
‘‘The seagulls roosting now are the chicks born three seasons ago. What we are doing is rolling out a programme to break that cycle.
‘‘We are hoping that by getting the ball rolling with this we are getting the message out that we are doing something about it.”
He added: “Through this combined effort with Kirkcaldy4All and Ecolab we hope it will allow workers and shoppers to visit Kirkcaldy High Street in peace.”