Giant ‘seagulls’ flocked to Weymouth beach to warn visitors about the menacing birds. 

‘Don’t Feed the Locals’ is a new anti-seagull campaign that has taken flight this half term.

Today, actors dressed as giant seagulls gathered around beach visitors on Weymouth seafront, pretending to steal food and nose in their handbags. 

The idea behind the show was to educate the public about the nuisance gulls, warning not to feed them or leave food litter lying around, and to keep food close to them.

More than 40 businesses near Weymouth seafront are backing the campaign run by local litter initiative 'Litter Free Coast and Sea'.

Tobias Santos Eden and Dylan Ellis both work at Seacroft Café on the beach front, who are supporting the campaign by sending out the message to customers.

Tobias said: “They are just a menace. I saw someone go to get a sachet of sauce for the chips and a seagull just swooped on them.

“I notice people feeding them, and time after time it just brings more. We’ve been putting stickers on boxes and handing out leaflets.”

Dylan said: “Customers complain about the seagulls. People feel like they have to resort to sitting inside.”

Ray Banham, honorary alderman, said: "They've been a menace for quite a while because people feed them. It's time to stop.

"When we have schools down here we have to surround them to protect them. I've seen cuts fingers, cut heads, some have had to go to hospital. People ought to be fined."

Greta and John Smith were enjoying a day by the seaside. Greta said: “For one of our neighbours, every time she opens the window it [a seagull] tries to come in and she keeps shoeing it away. They want to be fed."

Matilda Manley, Litter Free Coast and Sea coordinator, explained that the ‘seagulls’ were being deliberately cheeky. She said: “They are enticing people and raising awareness in a fun way. People seem to be enjoying it. 

“Seagulls (aka chip thieves) have been known to be quite aggressive to visitors in Weymouth. Whilst promoting the campaign in and around Weymouth we have heard stories of seagulls taking steaks off of plates, coming into restaurants and even pooing in people’s beer glasses. 

“Seagull excrement is also high in bacteria which can in turn affect bathing water quality. The campaign, called “Don’t Feed the Locals”, wants to help break the association that seagulls have around humans and food to encourage them to get their food from more natural sources.” 

There will be another surprise visitor making its way to the seafront on Friday to continue the campaign.