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West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland councils are hoping that a new campaign that has been launched will help tackle the issue of nuisance seagulls.

The notoriously greedy birds are well known amongst holidaymakers and residents alike for their sometimes aggressive behaviour in pursuit of food.

The councils have come up with a novel approach to try and reduce the problem. Seafront take-away food outlets are being encouraged to use warning stickers on their wrapping with the slogan ‘Public health menace – do not feed!’ encouraging people to stop feeding these and other birds, and make sure that they throw food packaging away responsibly. Posters warning residents and visitors not to feed the seagulls are being promoted in the coastal resorts of Weymouth, Portland, West Bay and Lyme Regis.

These posters will be on display throughout the summer in various takeaway food restaurants and restaurants which serve food to people outside.

Cllr Francis Drake, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Community Safety Briefholder said: “We have received many complaints over the years about gulls swooping down and stealing food from people. This experience can ruin a person’s trip to the borough, so we hope that people take notice of the campaign so that we can change the behaviour of the birds and stop them from being such a nuisance.”

Cllr Alan Thacker, West Dorset District Council’s Community Safety and Access Portfolio Holder said: “We want everyone visiting our harbour resorts to have an enjoyable experience. Being interrupted by an aggressive gull while having food out and about can spoil someone’s day. It can be a very unpleasant experience for an adult and a frightening experience for a child.”

“By not leaving food out for the gulls or directly feeding the birds, we will reduce the chances of the seagulls pestering visitors and residents. I fully back this campaign.”

Photo Credit: Amy Greenham on