A SHOCKED Worcester woman has told of a terrifying encounter with a "vicious" seagull that drew blood and left her with cuts to her hand.

Jessica Charles, a marketing assistant at the Swan Theatre, was about to tuck into a biscuit during an innocent lunchtime stroll in the city centre when the gull swooped.

The 22-year-old was in Angel Place when a huge bird terrifyingly closed in, brushing her shoulder blade before suddenly sinking its beak into her hand.

The attack left her with two cuts in her finger which have been treated by a trained first aider - with Miss Charles saying she will now never have food out in the city again.

Worcester City Council has issued a fresh plea for people to not feed the seagulls, saying Miss Charles has suffered a "dreadful experience".

Miss Charles said: "It was around 2pm on Monday and I was on a late lunch break, just walking past the party shop in Angel Place towards the Hive.

"I was eating a biscuit and it came down from behind me, the first I saw of it was when it brushed down my right shoulder.

"I literally had no warning at all, its body and wings were flapping around my hair and the next thing I know there's this sharp scratching pain in my hand.

"I looked down and it had cut me in two places and there was blood, it was horrible.

"I've heard of seagull attacks at the seaside but not here - the fact it drew blood from me is quite shocking.

"I was shaken and upset by it, I felt quite embarrassed but it all happened so quickly.

"I had to go back to work and someone trained in first aid put a swab on it and a plaster, I was worried about infection and things like that."

Miss Charles, who lives in Evesham, described the gull as "vermin" and "vicious" and is urging people to avoid having food out in town.

"I won't be doing it again and I know others won't be walking through town with food again," she said.

The city council spends more than £5,500 a year on trying to tackle the seagull problem, paying a contractor to place fake eggs on roofs to deter gulls from leaving real ones.

It says the population of nesting pairs fell to 277 last year, down from 324 in 2014, but that it wants to go further.

Councillor Andy Roberts, cabinet member for a cleaner, greener and safer city, said: "There is a serious side to this, really - and as a council we've put more money into egg replacement and more into extending our range so it covers St John's and Blackpole.

"I'm told by the professionals that the numbers have fallen, but from my experience it seems there's more this year than ever - at the end of the day both of those could be true.

"My message to the public is, we will carry on with our increased efforts to tackle this but these birds are opportunistic.

"What this woman is saying from her pretty dreadful experience is right, if people feed them it'll only get worse."


PEOPLE in the city centre say they are fed up having to look over their shoulders all the time - with many pointing to the High Street as being a particular seagull hotspot.

On a wander down the main shopping parade a reporter from the Worcester News witnessed more than 10 of the birds in a matter of minutes today.

Sitting outside Costa Coffee opposite the Guildhall, worker Ian Walsh, aged 50, a retail manager, said: "I can't stand them.

"They seem to be worse now than I can ever remember, all waiting to pounce on food.

"They appear quite aggressive if you get near them."

Shopper Lisa Barford, aged 19, a student at the University of Gloucestershire, said: "I can see why they come, fast food is easy to steal.

"You see all these people dropping chips and loads of people walking out of Greggs with sandwiches, it's simple for them.

"They are disgusting, those seagulls."

Staff at Boston Tea Party said they felt seagulls were a problem last summer when the weather was at its best, swooping down to steal food from customers.

Worker Ellie Bunch, from the cafe, said: "They are very cheeky - last summer they tried to take people's bagels."