Keep an eye out for gull shooting

Young seagulls having recently left the nest find their place on Eastbourne beach. July 18th 2013 E30066P
Young seagulls having recently left the nest find their place on Eastbourne beach. July 18th 2013 E30066P

A wildlife rescuer is calling on the people of Eastbourne to be vigilant after several reports of seagull shootings in the Seaside area.

Trevor Weeks MBE, of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service, says there is usually a spate of seagull shootings at this time of year as the birds become more active and their chicks start to fly. This year, in Eastbourne alone six shot gulls have been taken in by Trevor’s charity. Some have survived the ordeal and others have not been so lucky.

He says there have recently been several reports from the Seaside area near Staples and he is keen to get to the bottom of the matter.

Trevor said, “We have had two calls from a lady in the area and some of the taxi drivers have mentioned it.

“The problem is that we don’t have any hard and fast evidence – it is word of mouth at the moment.

“If we find a gull that has been shot, we don’t know which house or even which street the shooting took place.

“I would ask that people are vigilant, keep an eye out and report any incidents to Sussex Police.

“WRAS doesn’t have any powers to investigate or take action this can only be done by the police.”
He made a direct appeal to the people of Eastbourne and said, “If you witness someone shooting out of a window at birds especially in a residential area please dial 999 straight away as an offence is highly likely to be being committed at the time and will need acting on straight away.

“If you have any information about this or any other wildlife crime please contact Sussex Police by dialing 101.”

Trevor described the perpetrators of the crimes against the gulls as the ‘dregs of society’.

He said, “There are two reasons people shot the gulls. Some are annoyed because they have kept them up at night or they seem them as a pest – these are the intolerant people but then there are the others who do it for enjoyment.

“Anyone who takes pot shots for the hell of it is sick. Those people are the same people that shoot cats and other animals and they really are the dregs of society.”

Trevor also told the Herald he thought air rifles, the weapon most commonly used to shoot the birds, should be banned.

He said, “I think air rifles are a waste of time.”