Gulls aloud! - Postman scared off by angry seagulls

Mandy Laffan of Rutland Close, Eastbourne. The Post Office has stopped delivering her mail because of alleged attacks on its staff by seagulls. July 2nd 2013 E27152P
Mandy Laffan of Rutland Close, Eastbourne. The Post Office has stopped delivering her mail because of alleged attacks on its staff by seagulls. July 2nd 2013 E27152P
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An Eastbourne postman has refused to deliver to certain streets in town after getting dive bombed by seagulls, but a wildlife rescuer says the Royal Mail worker should simply don a hard hat.

Mandy Laffan, of Rutland Close, says there are no more gulls in her street than any other road in Eastbourne and she was surprised when a letter from Royal Mail arrived telling her she would have to collect her mail from the post office for health and safety reasons.

Mandy, who says she has never been dive bombed by a gull, explained there had been a gull and its baby on the roof of her neighbours bungalow but it is now nowhere to be seen and had never caused a problem when it was resident in the street.

Mandy said, “I thought it was a joke when I got the letter.

“I have lived here ten years and I have never noticed more seagulls in this street. They have never bothered me at all.

“The letter says they will start delivering our mail again once the ‘threat of attack is removed’, as if it is our fault but they are wild birds and we have no control over them.

“They are talking like we have got a dangerous dog or something.”

Trevor Weeks MBE, founder of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service, says dive bombing by seagulls is more common in the summer months because the parents are protective of their young.

He said, “They don’t dive bomb unless there is a problem.

“If a gull chick has fallen from the roof the postman is not necessarily going to realise it is in a hedge and the protective parents will dive bomb. This happens more with bungalows because they are lower buildings.”

But Mr Weeks said he thought the post office’s decision not to deliver to certain areas was ‘bizarre’ and that the threat of seagulls was being used as ‘an excuse’.

He said, “I think this is a bit short sighted of the post office. Why don’t they just wear hard hats.”

Mandy said she thought it was ‘ridiculous’ the postman had managed to make it to the door unharmed to deliver the letter telling them about the changes to their mail but had been unable to deliver the other post at the same time.

Not only that, but half the street is still receiving their mail.

Mandy said, “I really can’t understand why some houses are considered safe and others aren’t.”

A spokesperson from Royal Mail said, “One of our regular postmen delivering to a small number of addresses in parts of Eastbourne has been experiencing swooping attacks by seagulls as he delivered his round over the past few weeks.

“The safety of our people is paramount to Royal Mail and these swooping attacks have made it difficult for him to continue to do his job. Unfortunately these frightening attacks have meant that we had to temporarily suspended deliveries to some addresses in Burton Road and Rutland Close at the end of last month. These kinds of attacks do occur at this time of year as the gulls are nesting and rearing their chicks.

“We apologise to those customers affected and we are continuing to monitor the situation. We will resume deliveries as soon as it is safe for us to do so. Those customers affected were written to and advised that they could collect their mail from the local Post Office in Framfield Way. Due to limited secure storage space, the Post Office is no longer able to offer this service. Mail will be now be held at the delivery office for collection until deliveries can resume. Customers are being informed of this arrangement by letter, which will be delivered to affected households, together with any mail we have for them, by Royal Mail managers.”