SCREECHING seagulls that drop huge amounts of mess on cars and gardens are driving people in Devizes around the bend but no quick fix is available.

Town council clerk Simon Fisher agrees the problem has been bad this summer but says there is nothing that can be done to combat the problem until next spring.

The council along with many other organisations nationwide lost their licences from Natural England to use methods such as using hawks and taking eggs to combat the problem after a protest about bird culling by a pressure group backed by wildlife presenter Chris Packham.

This ban has now been lifted but it is too late to do anything this year.

Mr Fisher said: “We have had more complaints this year than in a number of years and I agree the gulls are a menace.

“We have a contractor who will re-introduce the hawks and the replacing of gulls’ eggs with dummies next spring when they are laid and hopefully that will help.”

Among those badly affected by the gulls are Karen and Graham Brown, who live near London Road..

They have written to Wiltshire Councillor Laura Mayes who spearheaded a campaign in 2015 to get action against the gulls which resulted in the hawks being brought in.

Mr Brown said: “The numbers of gulls are frighteningly large at present and they wake us daily, gathering and circling overhead, screaming at the top of their voices from dawn for anything up to an hour every day.

“They drop large quantities of bird mess on cars, washing, pets and people, making it impossible to make use of our gardens without concern.

“The numbers and noise levels then rise dramatically again from early evening as they gather to roost.

“The numbers are greatly up on previous years. When the hawk has been used and eggs replaced with dummy ones, numbers have been manageable.

“Other birds are being driven away; we barely see sparrows, blackbirds or robins anymore. These are the birds which we should be seeing inland.”