Clever seagulls are working in pairs to steal chips and ice creams from unsuspecting Brits, an expert says.
Peter Rock said the winged menaces’ behaviour is evolving and they now use distraction tactics to pinch folk’s grub.
He said one will often dive-bomb a person to scare them before another swoops from behind and wrestles food from their grasp.
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The urban gulls’ boffin believes the methods the feathered scumbags use have become more sophisticated over time, saying: “Gulls are constantly demonstrating how clever they are.
“One will fly at you, looking like it’s going to snatch your pasty or ice cream and as you move your arm the other will fly at you and snatch it from behind.”
He added vicious seagulls are “possibly not quite as clever as the crow family” – but they’re surprisingly “smart and hard to outwit”.
Peter claimed the cunning birds poo or throw up on people they consider “intruders” to scare them off, and revealed a gull once showered him in a recently swallowed Pot Noodle.
A study conducted by Peter and other experts, which saw GPS tags attached to 12 gulls, found the menaces timed their arrival at a school playground, rubbish dump and park – to coincide with when food was on offer.
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He said snatching food directly from humans is a relatively recent phenomenon, which used to be confined to certain parts of Cornwall and Jersey, but “seems to be spreading”, adding: “The capital of food-snatching is St Ives in Cornwall, and they are absolute experts at it.”
Peter said this revealed that while urban gulls typically feed on discarded chips and takeaways – around a third of their time is spent in rural green areas, where they hunt worms.
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According to research, during 2020 and 2021 one-in-five Brits had their food pinched by the evil birds and this number surged to four in 10 in 2021/22.
It was also revealed in the 12 months up to March this year just under half of folk saying they’d been targeted by seagulls.
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