Binmen say seagulls are out for blood and refuse to do rounds without hard hats

Starving seagulls are attacking binmen as they try to remove food and litter from the street.

Refuse collectors across the UK have been hit by a huge rise in attacks by the “feral” birds as they do their rounds.

One said: “They’re out for blood.”

Binmen have now asked to be given hard hats to protect them.

Rubbish disposal experts Divert.co.uk said seagull attacks on staff were soaring. One Liverpool-based binman named only as Charlie, who works for the firm, said: “I’ve had them swoop at me while I pull bins up to the truck.

“They try and pull half-eaten food out of open bins while we’re emptying them, diving at the lorry… they’re absolutely feral.

“They’re quite scary because they are huge, but now it seems like they’re out for blood if you take any scrap of food away.”

Fellow binman Adam said: “I’d cull them. They’re an absolute menace – there are certain routes I won’t do unless I’m given a hard hat and a chance of protecting myself.”

Postmen in Cardiff had already reported they were too scared to do rounds. Seagulls become aggressive at this time of year as they protect their newborns.

Pest experts say the problem is worse due to a lack of food created by lockdown restrictions, which have forced restaurants to close and footfall in cities and coastal areas to fall by 70%.

They say calls have doubled since this time last year as more people report being terrorised by groups of birds. Jamie Naylor, director of pest controllers Integrum, said the birds were fearless and can be very aggressive and intimidating.

He said: “Food premises have been shut so the birds are starving. “Seagulls will swoop down on people, even knocking some down. They will target your face and use their claws to scratch or their beaks to bite.”

Attacks have been reported all over the UK and doctors have reported a spike in patients requiring treatment for gull wounds. Councils across the UK have appointed specialist gull control officers, as some residents call for them to be culled.

Mark Hall, from Divert.co.uk, said that was not an option as the birds are protected by wildlife laws. He added: “We do have to co-exist with gulls and other wildlife.”

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