HOLDING a bag over your head might be the best way to ward off seagull attacks after Fife Council confirmed it won't swoop into action.

The local authority was urged to save residents from the flying menace after numerous complaints about the "aggressive" birds dive-bombing and attacking West Fifers.

Concerns led to local councillors calling a public meeting in Inverkeithing in August, with some people turned away as the hall was full, and a private contractor consulted about how to deal with the gulls.

A petition was also circulated but Dawn Jamieson, service manager for safer communities, said expectations that the council would deal with the problem were "disproportionately high".

She added: "Control of nesting gulls is the responsibility of the owner of the property on which the nest is situated.

"There is no statutory responsibility on the council to control the gull population or to instruct owners to take any action."

Instead, the council will put up signs warning people not to feed the seagulls, and they'll speak to high schools and fast food outlets as part of an awareness campaign about litter.

Gulls are fiercely protective parents and, during the nesting season of April to August, they're known to swoop down aggressively on any perceived threat to their chicks.

After organising the meeting in Inverkeithing, local councillor David Barratt said they were working on a community-led strategy to "to tackle what has been an annual nightmare”.

Kirsty Mortimer, of Rosyth, was left bleeding after one aerial attack, an Inverkeithing man was left cut and bruised after another incident and an enterprising postie brandished a brolly to ward off the angry birds while on his rounds in Scotsmill Way, Inverkeithing.

Kirsty told the Press in July: "There are loads of seagulls nesting, not only me but loads of the neighbours are scared to leave their homes due to the birds attacking and being very violent.”

The council received 35 complaints, four of which were from Inverkeithing residents and included a petition with 19 names.

Ms Jamieson said that large amounts of bird droppings could also cause structural damage to buildings and block gutters.

Her report to the South West Fife area committee meeting yesterday (Wednesday) said only one Scottish council, Dumfries and Galloway, carries out a comprehensive gull management programme which has been ongoing since 2009 at a cost of £30,000 a year.

But it would take at least four years of consecutive nest and egg removal before gulls will change their nesting habits and move locations.

And Ms Jamieson's report said that research and information from local authorities and the Scottish Government-led Seagull Task Force "concludes that there are no programmes of work which have been successful over a sustained period".

A spokesperson for RSPB Scotland previously told the Press: “It can be very frightening to be confronted by an upset gull but the best things to do are not to get too close to young gulls on the ground and if you have to, walk calmly while holding a bag or umbrella above your head so the gulls swoop at that instead."