Could this innovative idea finally be the solution to the ‘hellish’ seagull problem?
PUBLISHED: 12:10 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:33 09 September 2019
From hawk walks to educational campaigns, Great Yarmouth Borough Council has searched far and wide to find the best method of dealing with nuisance seagulls.
Now, a councillor believes he may have found the answer to one of the borough's most challenging issues - and it involves using a drone.
Malcolm Bird, councillor for the Caister south ward, came up with the idea after he returned from his summer holiday in France.
"I was in Normandy having a chat to residents when the issue of seagulls was raised," he said.
"They had a problem with them as well but the authority there started using a drone which I was told was quite successful in reducing the numbers.
"It is certainly an interesting idea."
Mr Bird said the drone was sprayed in a liquid which deterred seagulls from going near to the area it was flying in.
Unlike regular drones, this one was specifically designed without a sharp blade so it didn't harm the birds if they collided with it.
It was used in northern France before the holiday season got into full swing.
Mr Bird added: "There's nothing to guarantee it will work in Great Yarmouth so a lot more research needs to be done.
"It's definitely an idea to look at though."
This year Great Yarmouth Borough Council launched the campaign 'Are you feeding the gull problem?' to make people aware they should not be feeding seagulls.
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But, a number of incidents were reported again in the summer which included a 77-year-old man being attacked three times by the same seagull.
The council has also tried flying a hawk around the Market Place in recent years as a way of reducing seagull numbers but due to the birds being protected by law, the authority had a limited window to do this.
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The use of a drone to help combat the issue of gulls is set to be discussed at an environment committee meeting later this month.
Chairman of the committee, Penny Carpenter, said: "The issue of seagulls is an extremely difficult one to tackle and is a problem I receive the most complaints on.
"Seagulls make people's lives hellish so we are always looking at ways to combat the problem.
"This is one of a number of suggestions we will be looking at in the future."