Under attack!

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THE winged menaces are back and are once again wreaking havoc on both shoppers and workers in Kirkcaldy town centre.

In recent weeks the number of reports of people being attacked by seagulls scavenging for food and protecting their young has risen.

Complaints have largely centred on the High Street area, although it seems the problem could be spreading further afield, with complaints also coming from residents in James Grove who have been swooped on as gulls move to protect their chicks.

The problem is not new and similar concerns have been raised in previous years.

Last year Kirkcaldy4All began a three year programme with pest control specialists Ecolab to try and combat the problem by limiting the number of seagull chicks being born.

Bill Harvey, manger at Kirkcaldy4All, said this week that Ecolab are continuing with the programme.

He said: “We’re now into year two.

“We’ve got two different problems here.

“We’re dealing wth the breeding gulls, but they are different to those who are here for a food source.

“Our three year programme should eventually see the number of chicks born in the town centre area reduced.”

Initially Kirkcaldy4All and Ecolab had identified 55 buildings within the BID area, however Mr Harvey told The Press this week that number has increased as more roosting sites were identified.

He said: “What we’re seeing now is gulls that were born three or four years ago. If that was a good breeding season, well there will be a lot of them.

“We thought there was a bit of a difference in numbers last year, but with what we’re doing, we wouldn’t really see the benefits until year four or five.

“Some of these gulls are gulls that know this is a source of food.

“It’s a different problem and not one that we can really tackle as they are protected.

“They are certainly a menace.”

The problem is one Fife Council is well aware of.

Graeme Anderson, a technical officer with the Council’s pest control, said: “Some seagulls have learnt to associate people with food and will swoop down on them to try and steal whatever it is that is being eaten.

“This can be frightening, especially where children are involved.

“It is important that the public do not feed gulls and we have erected signs in certain areas to highlight the problems they can cause.

“Council officers will also visit householders who feed birds inappropriately at home, such as scattering bread and other waste food on their lawns. “Apart from the nuisance this can cause neighbours, such practices can also attract vermin and we would urge people that like to feed small garden birds to only use proper bird feeders.

“Current legislation does allow owners of property to take action against nesting gulls where they are causing problems impacting on public safety, and this can include egg and nest removal.”