Families living near London Road in Devizes say their lives are being made a misery by gulls and are calling for them to be culled.
The gulls nest on the roofs of industrial buildings at the Garden Trading Estate. The buildings back on to homes in White Horse Way and Combe Walk and families say numbers of gulls are out of control. They are woken up in the early hours of the morning and they and their cars have been pooped on.
Wendy McWilliams, 54, of White Horse Way, has been prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping tablets by her doctor because of the stress the gulls are causing.
She said: “They are an absolute nightmare. Their squawking goes on from 8pm to 1am and they start up at 3.30am, even with PVC windows shut you can still hear them.
“I have lived here for five years but this year the number of seagulls seem to have trebled. My partner lives in Minehead and he says it’s worse here with seagulls than it is in Minehead.”
Mrs McWilliams has resorted to driving around playing a CD of birds of prey noises to try to scare the seagulls away.
Rebecca Wright, 35, of White Horse Way and who has five children, said: “The seagulls keep me awake at night and they have pooed on us while we have been in our garden. It’s horrendous, they should be culled.”
Gemma Romans, of Combe Walk, said the situation is so bad she wants to move.
Jo Northway, of Combe Walk, said: “I’m fed up of cleaning off my car the mess caused by the seagulls. It’s awful when you go to bed and you can’t open your windows because of the noise.”
The families and staff at Jewsons, one of the industrial buildings where the gulls are nesting, have complained to Wiltshire Council’s environmental health department but have been told there is nothing it can do because gulls are protected. Licences to control gulls can be issued by Natural England.
Wiltshire councillor Laura Mayes, who lives in Roundway village, reported the problem to Devizes Area Board. She said: “The situation is horrendous. I get disturbed by seagulls where I live. Seagulls don’t come under the responsibility of Wiltshire Council so by reporting it as an issue to the area board I want to see if we can find a community way to get round it.”
Tony Whitehead, spokesman for the RSPB in the South West, said: “We believe, and the law requires, lethal control should be a last resort used only where it is legal, where there is a proven problem, where non-lethal alternatives have been tried and found not to be effective and where legal, lethal control will not adversely affect the conservation status of the species.
“The RSPB recommends action by local authorities and individuals to reduce the volume of food available to gulls in urban areas, including reducing the amount of food waste sent to landfill, not putting rubbish out until the day of collection, in gull-proof containers, reducing the amount of edible litter on streets, particularly arising from fast food outlets and providing gull-proof litter bins.”