First it was egg oiling. Then wobbly jelly was trialled to help scare off thousands of sea gulls plaguing shoppers in Gloucester.
Now ever desperate measures to keep the pesky birds at bay could include high-tech lasers mounted from rooftops around the city.
It is the latest idea being put forward to scare-off gulls who tear open rubbish bags and launch aerial droppings on unsuspecting pedestrians as they go about their daily business.
Government experts have advised people living in some areas to carry umbrellas to guard off gull attacks, while some residents have considered leaving the city altogether.
Natural England has told people trying to tackle the menace that the new ‘agrilaser’ does not need a licence to be used on gull populations.
The gun, which was developed in the Netherlands, fires a green beam that the gulls are afraid of, and they fly off and are wary to return.
SportBeat organiser Jody Gooding, who lives at Gloucester Docks, said the problem has got so bad, he has considered leaving the city.
“Seagulls keep me up at night with their relentless noise and the problem has not improved," he said.
“I know it is not an easy one to solve, and people are putting their rubbish away, but the birds can still get into the bins.
“Pigeons are also a problem, they have flown into my flat and pood on my sofa. They make less noise, but are just as dirty.”
The ‘Agrilaser’ is being marketed primarily at farmers as a very 21st century version of a scarecrow, but it has been put forward as the answer to the gull problem in Gloucester, where gulls are increasing.
Giovanni D’amico, manager of Caffe Tucci at Gloucester Docks, said: “I have been here for six years and the problem is much worse now.
"I have seen gulls fly down and take food from people’s plates. I have to warn my customers about sitting outside, otherwise they want a refund for the food they have lost.
“It puts people off. People think it is a joke, but it is a real problem in Gloucester.”
One customer, who did not want to be named, said: “They are like rats in the sky. I know different things have been tried, but the lasers seem a good idea if it works. The problem is they will just go somewhere else in Gloucester.”
An anti-gull campaign was launched in the city in April. As soon as fledgling birds flew their nests, experts from Falconry Services oiled eggs and replaced them with fakes. Nests were also removed, but little has changed.
Waste food, no natural predators and Gloucester’s rooftops resembling cliff tops make the city perfect for gulls. It is estimated there could be as many as 1,500 nesting birds in 2014, a five per cent increase on 2011.
Urban gull experts have now called for investment into research to see how effective the lasers will be in populated areas.
A Gloucester City Council spokesman said: “ We have not heard about this but we will be contacting the other local authorities in the south west that we liaise with to see if they are aware of it.”