Horrified children watch as seagulls swoop on ducklings
VICIOUS seagulls are whittling down Newquay's duck population by gorging on defenceless ducklings at the town's boating lake, it has been claimed.
The issue was raised at a special 'Pride of Place' meeting on Monday to discuss issues in the town.
Mavis Warman, of the Newquay In Bloom horticultural partnership, said she had witnessed the opportunistic predators munching on fluffy ducklings in front of horrified children.
And she called on Cornwall Council to take action – possibly by flying birds of prey around Trenance Gardens to scare off the gulls.
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Mrs Warman said: "Duck numbers are down around 80 per cent. The gulls are eating the ducklings in front of children and visitors. No one tries to do anything about it but there are things we can do to keep gulls away. We have a bird of prey centre nearby. I bet the seagulls would scoot off if they saw one of those."
She was one of around 40 people who attended the meeting at the Griffin Inn, organised by the Newquay Regeneration Forum, to grill council contractors Cory and Cormac. Disgruntled residents lined up to raise issues such as fly-posting, dog mess and the poor state of the benches, railings and signs.
Mrs Warman said: "It looks as though we have no pride in our town when we do. There's just nothing we can do about it."
Both Steve Bailey, of Cormac, and Mark Edwards, of Cory, said budget cuts had meant there were simply not enough resources to stay on top of the town's problems.
Mr Bailey said: "I have to keep saying things I know people don't want to hear. We are not in a situation where we can throw money at this. I've been in this job for 25 years – it's very frustrating.
"We've lost significant numbers of staff both on the ground and in the offices. We are bare bones."
He said much of the infrastructure, such as poles and benches, needed replacing, but it was up to Cornwall Council to instruct Cormac to carry this out.
Mr Edwards said budget restrictions meant there were very few dog wardens.
Both urged people to report issues directly to Cornwall Council. Visit the website at www.cornwall.gov.uk or call 0300 1234100.