It may feel like a scene straight out of a Hitchcock movie, but to customers at this seaside cafe it is all too real. For years seagulls have been dive-bombing scones and stealing ice creams from holiday makers at the Dairy Maid in Teignmouth in Devon. They have regularly overturned tables and smashed plates almost mid-air in pursuit of a quick snack.
Mark Riddick who owns the Dairy Maid cafe in the centre of the seaside town of Teignmouth, Devon is fighting back. Cafe owner Mark Riddick is issuing customers with high powered water pistols to fend off marauding flocks.
‘These gulls are big, powerful birds who attack people and children, especially this time of year when they have young.’ said Mr Riddick. ‘For them it is preferable to have easy pickings from tables rather than go out to sea and hunt for food. They defaecate over people and furniture. They are a real nuisance. Food is even taken off plates by low-flying thieves before it has been placed in front of a customer.’
Mr Riddick, 56, bought six long range guns for tables after a suggestion from one of his 14 staff at the Dairy Maid cafe in the resort’s town centre. Filled with tap water, a blast from the gun doesn’t hurt the gulls – which are protected by law – but does deter them. ‘If they see the brightly coloured pistols on the tables the gulls keep away,’ said Mr Riddick, although he admitted leftovers remain a target.
In common with other resorts, Teignmouth is full of warning signs about gulls. Cllr Kevin Lake, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Spokesperson for Environmental Health, said: ‘Seagulls are part and parcel of our seaside towns up and down the country and the issue of nuisance birds is one organisations and people nationwide can identify with. They are primarily sea residing birds but are tempted in by food, so everyone can do their bit to deter seagulls from swooping in. This ranges from not feeding them leftover food, to using public bins that are provided, or taking litter home. ‘
(Extract from Daily Mail article)
Want to know more about gulls? Checkout Gulls
Notes on the poem:
Begged, scavenged or stolen from sources that all children should read:
- The Pied Piper of Hamelin, by Robert Browning
- The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
- Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
- The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God, by J. Milton Hayes
And from a lifetime’s worth of other stories.
For more poems by Don Pearson checkout Don Pearson