Invisible electric fence in the sky to catch seagulls

PUBLISHED: 06:55 01 April 2009 | UPDATED: 23:17 15 June 2010

SEATON is to pioneer a novel and high-tech way of dealing with the annual problem of seagulls in seaside towns.

SEATON is to pioneer a novel - and high-tech - way of dealing with the annual problem of seagulls in seaside towns.As Easter approaches and East Devon District Council braces itself for an increase in the number of complaints about gulls ripping open rubbish sacks and dive-bombing unsuspecting visitors to steal the snacks off their plates, staff at Knowle believe they may have cracked the problem.A low voltage electric cable is to be strung between lamp-posts above the promenade in Seaton. The cable, based on the concept of electric fences used to control cattle and sheep, will give off a small shock when the gulls land on it.This will stun the birds for a short while and council staff will be on hand with over-sized butterfly nets to capture the birds while they lie unconscious on the footway.They will be gathered together in cages and humanely transported by a Beer trawler out to sea, where they will be released into their natural environment.Commenting on the plan, a council spokesman said: "We believe this may be a ground-breaking way to solve the problem of seagulls bothering people in our seaside towns. It's the kind of blue-sky thinking we are trying to encourage through the taskforce."And Councillor Miss April Japes went on: "The gulls will not suffer in any way. "We will have teams of specially trained council staff out every day on duty to capture the birds. Once the gulls have been moved out in sufficient numbers, we will turn off the current. If the problem recurs, we can turn it back on."This solution fits perfectly with the council's overall recycling agenda. Some people want the birds culled, while others want them left alone. This is a sensible compromise, as we will in effect be recycling them."The only slight concern we have is that members of the public might be surprised to find a stunned seagull dropping out of the sky near where they are sitting on the esplanade or beach. We will be putting up signs warning people to watch out for this and not to be concerned.

EDITOR'S NOTE 12:00: Following a call from the RSPB we would like to point out to readers that this story is an April Fool and is NOT true!

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