A woman in Paignton, Devon, is getting fed up after gulls have taken to dropping plastic practice golf balls on her living room roof. Margaret Bellhouse witnessed the anti-social behaviour at the beginning of the summer. She said: "It all started a few months back at the start of the fine weather. I was sitting in my living room one evening when I heard something land on the roof and then roll down and into the back yard.
"When I went out into the yard I saw a couple of yellow balls but didn't think much of it — I just thought maybe it was the children in the house upstairs." Margaret collected the balls and tried to return them to her neighbours, who had no knowledge of the brightly coloured air-flow style balls. "It happened again, and this time I saw a gull fly down after the ball, take a look at it and then fly off again. I now have 24 of them in my yard."
Recently though the balls have changed in colour and orange balls have started appearing, said Margaret. "It is all rather funny, but somebody must be having to replace all the balls they have lost, and they have now gone for a different colour. The only thing I can think of is that they must be picking them up from one of the crazy golf courses at the beach."
But neither Pirates Bay Adventure Golf on Paignton seafront nor the crazy golf course on Paignton Pier use the air-flow style balls. Tony Whitehead, RSPB spokesman, said: "What you will often see at the seaside with gulls is that they use a similar method to this to open mussels. They carry them up into the air and drop them to crack them open. This sort of behaviour is quite well known in gulls, they are very clever creatures. They probably see the balls as potential food, but then gulls see most things as potential food."