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Lasers could be the latest weapon to keep Gloucester gulls at bay

By The Citizen  |  Posted: August 13, 2014

Increasing numbers of seagulls have become the scourge of Gloucester

Comments (6)

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.

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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.”

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  • spindles12  |  August 14 2014, 2:28PM

    There was a gull expert on the radio a few days ago and he talked about gulls being tagged to see where they went and it was clear that a lot of gulls at Gloucester tip and the town centre come from Bristol during the day and go back home at night. Unless something drastic is being done to the gulls in Bristol as well I can't see that a mass cull of them will do much good. Why not discourage the birds by the Council banning any business and private individuals from putting out thin black plastic bags that aren't gull-proof? Torbay supplies gull proof bags, as must many other places so that might go a long way to getting the gull problem solved. Put a lot of gull-proof bins around the City so that there will be no excuse for people having nowhere to throw their rubbish. It's the same with rats, one expert said that if it wasn't for the dirty habits of people leaving food around there would be fewer rats. Responsibility lies in many places, businesses, residents and the Council, everyone must play their part.

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  • Localgirl75  |  August 14 2014, 2:23PM

    honslknjklyt - it's not just the rubbish people drop on the floor. I watched a seagull the other day perch on the top of a bin and throw all the rubbish people had taken care to dispose of properly all over the floor creating a hell of a mess. They are pests and the sooner they're controlled, the better.

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  • honslknjklyt  |  August 13 2014, 4:26PM

    The problem is people, not the seagulls. It is all very well that the council have thrown lots of public money at things but all too often the people are the last of the problem to get sorted.

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  • KeyBored  |  August 13 2014, 4:02PM

    The Gull problem could be solved very easily.. But the bleeding heart liberals would be up in arms. All it would take is a few trained contractors with airguns and the population could be culled back to a point where the egg oiling would take effect. It would take no more than a week of intense culling to bring the numbers right down. No doubt I will get numerous negative comments, but I'm afraid the token lip service the council has paid to this problem over the years has led us to the current state of affairs.

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  • IsitJimKerr  |  August 13 2014, 1:18PM

    hons...................you might have never had a prob, but if the Council have thrown £thousands at it over the years, you can bet your @r*£ there really is a prob. You might be a good boy and throw your litter in the bin, but many don't, and people living near their sites are plagued

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  • honslknjklyt  |  August 13 2014, 12:18PM

    I have NEVER been plagued by these beautiful creatures. All people need to do is dispose of their waste properly. Don't leave food in plastic bags in the street. Trashy people who throw their rubbish on the floor without a care part of this problem. I love the birds. Leave them alone. They can come and feed in my garden anytime.

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