Residents and holidaymakers visiting East Devon have been warned not to feed seagulls – or potentially face an £80 fine.
East Devon District Council has announced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to prohibit the feeding of seagulls in an effort to stop the birds from attacking people.
Local councillor Iain Chubb said that problematic seagull behaviour was becoming a scourge in the region.
“You like to see the birds, it’s a nice part of the landscape, but you just don’t want them to be aggressive,” he said.
The threat of fines is primarily targeted at habitual bird feeders and businesses that fail to dispose of food correctly.
“It’s more a fine for where there is, say a catering establishment with bad practice of disposing of food, or there are little old ladies who like to go down and feed the seagulls,” said Mr Chubb.
“It’s one of those things where, if you’ve got somebody who is habitually feeding seagulls, it’s something to say you shouldn’t be doing this, there is a fine at the end of the day.”
“There aren’t going to be the police out looking for people throwing chips at birds, that’s for sure.”
East Devon isn’t the only coastal region experiencing problems with seagull behaviour.
Last summer Scarborough council logged more than 22 seagull attacks on passers-by along the North Yorkshire coast.
Several of the seagulls’ victims report that the birds grabbed food off them after swooping form the skies.
Others told how they had been deliberately pecked by the birds for no apparent reason.
A council spokesman said: “Unfortunately, by feeding the birds, leaving rubbish bags out for collection unsecured and dropping litter in the street, humans have made it easy for them and this is one of the main reasons we are experiencing the problems, particularly in the spring and summer seasons.”