A NEW campaign to rid pesky seagulls from Worcester is about to be launched - amid fears if the city does nothing the population will rocket SEVEN-FOLD to more than 2,200.
A leading Worcester politician is worried the city could "end up like St Ives" where people are now being advised to eat indoors for their own safety.
Councillor Andy Roberts, the cabinet member responsible for the environment, says he is "determined we won't go the same way" and is concerned Worcester's gull population could be growing despite official data showing a fall.
Your Worcester News can reveal how the council's Conservative leadership has now pledged to spend more taxpayers' money on the problem after deciding the current outlay of £5,000 is not enough.
It is also prepared to launch a new campaign asking people not to litter, saying dropped food is one of the main reasons why seagulls like the city.
In St Ives, the popular Cornwall seaside town, the tourism association warns against people eating outside due to seagull numbers exploding.
Cllr Roberts, cabinet member for cleaner and greener, said: "Experts say with the situation where the eggs are oiled, the population will eventually reduce by half but if we do nothing they think it will increase seven-fold - but I think it's increasing anyway.
"In St Ives they've pretty much given up and the advice there is to stay inside to eat - I don't want to end up like that."
He also revealed he's decided the budget for tackling it will be upped, saying "it is not a problem that will go away in five minutes".
"In terms of the amount of money we'll have to go away and look at it, we can't give a figure now because what we don't want to do is just spend money because it looks good," he said.
"What we can't promise to do is cure the problem completely, it would be dishonest to do that.
"But we are determined to do something with this and we've got to engage with the public to stop feeding the blasted things."
The money is spent on an outside contractor, who leaves fake plastic eggs in gull nests around the city, and in previous years it has oiled eggs to stop them hatching.
The fake egg tactic fools the birds into thinking they are real, thereby discouraging them from planting real ones inside the nest because it would get too overcrowded.
Back in 2007 there was 700 nesting pairs in the city but in the 2013 count stood at 320.
But the true population has always been disputed and during the summer several councillors say they've had emails from the public about large numbers.