University staff have been forced to call in a team of killer birds – after its students came under constant attack from thousands of SEAGULLS.
Officials say undergraduates are being bombarded and left covered in muck by the angry gulls swooping on them.
The unruly birds are dive-bombing students, invading buildings and covering rooftops and cars with excrement at Plymouth University in Devon.
Exasperated uni bosses have now turned to a falconry team to scare them away with specially trained Harris hawks and peregrine falcons.
Seven birds-of-prey are now perched at strategic lookout points atop of the university’s Portland Villas campus ready to swoop down at the first sign of trouble.
Falconer Martin Cattell of NVC Bird Pest Solutions said his aerial enforcers would aim to intimidate rather than kill.
He said: “Over the last few years they have had gulls nesting in all the roofs here, which causes a danger to the buildings and the chimneys.
“We have access to the roofs so we are flying the birds off the roofs as well.
“The predators being here is enough to push the gulls out. It is a breeding season programme, at the moment the gulls want to nest.
“Gulls are clever animals. Harris hawks and falcons just scare them and force them out.”
The hawks and falcons will be stationed at the uni until September and will be back next year to prevent the seagulls from returning.
It can take as long as three years to deter gulls from breeding in their favoured spots.
Mr Cattell added: “We will prevent them from nesting, then next year they will try again, and the year after that they start thinking ‘We are not getting our chicks through’.”
Paul Hoppins, of the university’s estates team, said staff decided against exterminating the birds and instead wanted a humane solution.
He said: “Everybody is really happy with the outcome because it’s a natural way of dealing with the issue we have.
“The other alternative is to poison them, but you can’t do that.”