THE amount of money spent on trying to rid seagulls from Worcester could climb as high as £25,000, it has emerged.

Your Worcester News can reveal how the city council is preparing to multiply its budget for tackling the pests five times to see if it does the trick.

Despite widespread concern about seagulls around the city, only £5,000 of taxpayers' cash is handed to a third party contractor, Red Kite, to reduce their population at the moment.

Under official rules, the ruling Conservative administration can spend up to £25,000 without having to go through the process of securing approval for a budget alteration at a full city council meeting, which is what the leadership is aiming to avoid.

Councillor Andy Roberts, the cabinet member for cleaner and greener, said: "We haven't settled on a figure yet but the cabinet can spend up to £25,000 without having to go through full council.

"So that gives you some sort of an idea of what we're looking at."

More details have emerged about how the extra funds will be spent, and not all of it will be handed to Red Kite.

A major PR drive will launch allowing residents to report "gull hotspots" around the city, which will be fed into a live map ultimately made available to Worcestershire Regulatory Services, Red Kite and all councillors.

It is also likely that some cash will be put towards producing educational information, both online and in paper format, detailing what steps people can take to discourage the gulls.

The council has also agreed to have talks within the Local Government Association (LGA) to see if there is any appetite for lobbying the Government over relaxing the protection of specific seabirds, amid fears the current status quo encourages uncontrolled explosions in their population.

Your Worcester News revealed on Saturday how a fresh attempt to reduce seagull numbers is on the way.

Adrian Field, from Worcester's Business Improvement District, which represents city retailers, said: "The issue of the gulls is particularly emotive amongst the business community so any increase in spending and awareness raising to help quell their numbers is welcomed."