CHARD is becoming overrun by seagulls, it was claimed this week.

Councillors, readers, residents and business representatives claim the problem is getting critical as the flying rogues cause noise and litter problems across the town.

Paul Martin, who lives in Fore Street with his wife and six-year-old daughter, said there had been a sharp increase in the number of seagulls.

He said: “I can only see the population thriving and the mess and noise they leave behind is unbearable especially when the gulls are allowed to nest and produce more wailing, noisy, flying rats.

“I would like to see measures put in place to control the numbers of gulls in our town and give us all some peace and quiet.”

All British birds, their nests and eggs, with certain exceptions, are protected under section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

South Somerset District Council is in charge of pest control and environmental health and a business owner in Chard said other shops could take more care leaving out their waste.

Les Gilbert, of the BetterBuyLocal store in Fore Street, said: “They get in anything, we have seen them on a Saturday night when someone has left their wheelie bins open.

“I have been out in the mornings clearing up after the bins have been left overnight and inevitably ripped open.

“We have a commercial waste collection and bin but not everybody has the money to get one of those from the council.”

Councillors on Chard Town Council said they were frustrated by the number of seagulls but found it hard to pinpoint a solution.

Cllr Tony Prior said: “The bottom line is we cannot touch them. One thing people could do to help is to put their black bin bags out at 7am in the morning so that the seagulls don’t rip them open overnight. I am a bit of an early bird myself and they make a lot of noise.”

Cllr Dave Bulmer added: “There have been a lot again this year. You cannot do anything especially in nesting season because they are a wild bird and protected. All of us a citizens have a moral responsibility to dispose of waste carefully.”

South Somerset District Council were unable to respond as the News went to press.