A WEST FIFE pensioner has called for council action to be taken to tackle the problem of nuisance seagulls after being attacked twice in the same day near her home in Inverkeithing.
Grandmother Patricia Wilkinson (78) was left shocked after being struck on the head by one of the aggressive birds.
She said, “I was walking with my dog at about 9.15 in the morning in Hillfield Road when the gulls started swooping down.
"One of them hit me on the back of my head and it was just lucky that I had my hood up at the time. You don’t know what diseases they might be carrying.
“It was really scary to have birds attack you when you’re just walking down the road.
"In the afternoon the same day I was out walking again and the same thing happened. I had to take cover in a bus shelter at the bottom of Hill Street near the old Volunteers pub.
“This sort of thing has never happened to me before. It was like something out of the film ‘The Birds’.
"Now I go on a bit of a detour when I go out for a walk.
“When I hear seagulls start to squawk it gives me a scare now. Having one of them attack you and hit you on the head makes you squawk yourself.
“I’ve spoken to the council and to other people in the area and they’ve heard of similar stories.
"Someone at the council said the advice was to carry a stick or an umbrella to keep them away.
“Seemingly, a postman was attacked in Rosyth and there are some office workers who have to run to their cars because of the seagulls.
“I think the council has a policy of not doing anything about seagulls but something has to be done because this is happening in the centre of Inverkeithing.
“A kid could be attacked, especially if they’re carrying food.
“The seagulls used to stay down at the paper mill but since that was knocked down they’ve started coming into the town more.” MSP Alex Rowley, who was contacted by Mrs Wilkinson, has been in touch with Fife Council “to ask what support they can give or action they can take where there is an issue with seagulls”.
Graeme Anderson, a technical officer with Fife Council Pest Control, said, “At this time of year seagulls are protecting their young as they leave the nest.
"Unfortunately, they perceive pedestrians as a threat and will swoop down on them. This can be very frightening.
“While Fife Council have no legal obligation to deal with seagulls, we have a leaflet available and information on FifeDirect. If anyone is experiencing particular problems with seagulls, they should contact the RSPB.” There is advice on seagull nuisance on the council’s website, Fife Direct. It states, “The council has no statutory duty to take action against gulls.
“The law says it is illegal to capture, injure or destroy any wild bird or interfere with its nest or eggs, this includes herring gulls. The penalties for disregarding the law can be severe.
“However, it is recognised that there are particular circumstances, for example to protect public health and safety, where the Scottish Government and Scottish National Heritage can issue licenses defined in wildlife legislation.
“Only the owner or occupier can take action where herring gulls are nesting on their property or they can give someone else permission to act on their behalf.” Have you been attacked by seagulls this summer or know anyone who has? Call our newsdesk on 747500.