HEREFORD residents were greeted with the unsightly scene of seagulls pecking at rubbish strewn across a city centre street earlier this week.

The seafaring birds, who have made the inland city their home, are notorious for feasting on leftovers, causing excessive noise, damaging properties and even for swooping attacks on people and pets.

Several years ago, local authorities came up with a plan to help tackle the problem and Hereford City Council agreed to fund a scheme to remove eggs and nests from rooftops across the city.

Herefordshire Council also distribute seagull-proof bags to businesses for plastic rubbish bags to be put in.

But these photographs taken at 6.30am on Monday show the problem has returned to Union Street.

Guy Davies, from Temple Records on neighbouring Bastion Mews, said: “Hereford has all the bad bits of a seaside town but no beach thanks to terrible bin organisation and insanely large flocks of seagulls.

“It’s bad for business as you’re constantly cleaning up the mess from the shop windows, pavements and the car windscreens. It’s not a good look.”

Since 2008, county council contractors say they have removed around 2,275 nests and 4,229 eggs.

Hereford’s gull population had been reduced from 500 to around 150 breeding pairs in 2017.

They say Royal Society for the Protection of Birds guidance is always followed to avoid harming birds and chicks.

City council clerk Steve Kerry said: “The city council is continuing to fund a contractor who removes nests and eggs where they can be accessed. It is unlawful to kill live birds.

“The council also supports the use of the seagull-proof litter bags that have been issued to business premises, the efforts made to enforce their use and would welcome them being issued to homes in areas where gulls are especially problematic.

“These issues lie with the Business Improvement District, Herefordshire Council and Balfour Beatty to progress.”

Hereford BID spokesman Mike Truelove said the issue revolved around identifying the flats who the waste belongs to as businesses have specific bags to use.

“The council have tried previously to identify and, although it is challenging, I would ask that they continue to investigate and maintain the pressure,” he said.

“The problem tends to be seasonal – when the gulls have left their nests/become established from the spring season they then get going, looking for food wherever possible and know these plastic bin bags are good targets for food.

“The solution is simple, the Hereford BID provides businesses with gull-proof reusable bags (we brought the idea to the city); these protect the rubbish until it is safely collected by the bin lorry. Herefordshire Council have bags available to domestic homes in the centre, free of charge.

“Although the situation was quickly resolved and the rubbish cleared up, no one wants to see this kind of thing.

“Regular enforcement and education to the culprits is essential."