I read a recent article about how a seagull swooped on a teenage tourist in Newquay and plucked an ice cream from his grip.
The Daily Mail reported that the teenager was eating the vanilla cone as he walked through an area in Newquay dubbed 'Seagull Alley' because of the high number of birds that steal food from people passing by. The seagull then flew off with the ice cream - leaving the stunned teenage with a shocked look on his face although people in the town say similar scenes happen every day in the resort's Bank Street.
One onlooker said: 'It was hilarious but the kid got one hell of a shock. I think it freaked him out. He was laughing and joking with his mates, walking down the road having a nice time on a sunny day.
'He was just about to start eating his cone when this massive bird came down and literally took it out of his mouth.'
The birds lie in wait as people emerge from cafes and takeaways before helping themselves to their sandwiches, chips, ice creams and pasties. Attacks have increased in recent weeks as gulls scour the tourist hotspot for food for their newly-hatched chicks. Residents say the birds have become so aggressive they will peck and harass people until they get their food.
Andy Pearson, an assistant manager at the resort's Central Inn bar, said: 'We have problems with the gulls throughout the summer. They come down to steal food on plates. Plates and glasses are smashed as they swoop down.'
Cornwall Council says people should not feed the gulls and avoid eating in public places. A spokesman said: 'Most gulls are protected by law from any interference or action to control them and, as a wild species, the birds have free access to open spaces.
Whilst I understand the ‘free access to open spaces ‘ point, I am surprised to note how the birds will apparently continue in sustained attacks until they get the food they are after although it seems that the teenager was fortunately not injured in this case. That said, I would not wish for my children to be open to attack in this scavenging manner if I were a tourist in the area and I would think twice before going to Seagull Alley!
By Barry Sutton