HUNDREDS of Devizes people sick of being kept awake by squawking gulls have joined the battle to get a new licence to allow eggs to be taken from nests on the Hopton Industrial Estate.

The town council and Wiltshire councillor Laura Mayes have joined forces to try and persuade Natural England to change its decision to veto a licence.

Cllr Mayes and town councillor Kelvin Nash posted a survey on gulls on a community Facebook page on Monday and by Tuesday morning 660 people had responded.

Cllr Mayes said: “It is a horrendous problem. So many people are very upset and angry about the noise and not being able to sleep.

“It is such a shame as two years ago when we had been following a programme to reduce the gulls for some time it had got so much better.

“But then after TV presenter Chris Packham got involved gulls became protected and the licence was revoked.” She said hawks can still be used but they only frighten the gulls away for a short period while they are flying and then the birds return.

The town council is now asking people to write in with information about problems so this can be sent to Natural England to support a lic;ence application for 2021.

Richard Hopkins administration manager for Devizes Town Council said: “In 2020 a site specific licence was sought early in the year. This was refused by Natural England on the broad grounds that non-lethal methods had not been sufficiently exhausted.

“The Town Council will be undertaking falconry works during the winter months as a proactive deterrent before the nesting season in the months of March.”

Claire Hiscock said: “It has been really bad this year can’t even sleep as they make a racket all night

Did Scott said: “Over the past two years the noise has got significantly worse.”