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oi! chip thief!

Isn’t it a pain when a seagull sneakily steals a chip out of your hands?

Not only are gulls dangerous when they dive, they end up pooing in the sea where we swim and paddle.

The Environment Agency routinely measure the amount of ‘bad’ bacteria in bathing waters to determine how clean they are, and bird poo can be one source of these harmful bacteria.

Key Issues

Harmful Bacteria from poo

Gull faeces contributes to levels of harmful bacteria in seawater, which is exacerbated where the bird population is higher than it would be based on natural resources alone. In turn, this has a detrimental impact on wider marine habitats and ecosystems.


When gulls find unattended food and overflowing bins they rip apart any packaging and this can get littered by being blown around. The gulls may also consume or get tangled in the packaging which is harmful to them.

Past campaigns and resources

We ran this campaign ran from 27 May to 24 June 2017 in Weymouth. We had some really positive and constructive feedback from the campaign. We have fed back to funders and Officers in Weymouth. We will also use the feedback to make the campaign even better the next time it runs. If you would like to run a campaign like this in your town get in touch.


Key campaign initiatives

  • Hosted events around the town and seafront getting the message out to visitors and locals about not feeding the seagulls.
  • Two giant seagulls visiting Weymouth Seafront on 31 May. Their cheeky nature created lots of laughs along the seafront and helped spread the message.
  • Worked with businesses to get involved and spread the word. We provided them with the materials and one positive message to deliver to their customers.
  • Two Harris Hawks visiting Weymouth Harbour on 2 June. The hawks are used around Weymouth Harbour twice a week to disperse (not attack) the seagulls. Visitors were able to speak to the hawk handlers and play Litter Free Coast and Sea’s Magnetic Seagull game.


What you can do..

How to avoid a gull attack yourself

  • Bin any  unwanted food in bins provided; make sure your rubbish goes all the way in and can’t be pulled out again by greedy gulls.
  • Take your plates back inside the café or restaurant when you’ve finished.
  • Keep food close to you and stay alert!
  • Eat with your back against a wall – this makes it much harder for them to dive on you, or sneak up behind you.


As a business…

  • Talking to all your customers about the issue, – asking customers to use a bin to get rid of their food wrappers and bring their finished plates inside to help clear tables quickly.
  • Put a ‘don’t feed the locals’ poster up in your window.
  • Make sure your staff clear outside tables as quickly as possible
  • Make sure you have provided enough bins for your customers to use
  • Support and share the campaign message on Litter Free Coast and Sea website.
  • If you were interested in running a campaign in your area, please get in touch.