Couple from Knott End held prisoner in own home - by seagulls

Pensioner Roy Pickard had only just walked out of his own front door when he was hit hard on the back of the head - hard enough to draw blood.

Shocked and confused about who or what had hit him, he whirled around and was confronted by a squawking seagull, circling close above him.

A ferociously protective seagull prevented Knott End pensioner Roy Pickard from leaving his house after its two chicks ended up on the canopy directly above his front door.

A ferociously protective seagull prevented Knott End pensioner Roy Pickard from leaving his house after its two chicks ended up on the canopy directly above his front door.

And then retired ambulance man Roy, aged 77, realised what the commotion was about.

READ MORE: Here's how to prevent gull issues

He saw that the two seagull chicks, which had previously been on the highest point of the bungalow roof, had somehow slipped down and were now on the canopy directly above Roy's front door, only about nine feet off the ground.

It was the start of a six-day siege in which Roy, whose wife Brenda is not mobile and relies on him to get out and about, were unable to do what most people take for granted - get out of their front door.

Roy Pickard with his wife who are being terrorised by seagulls and kept prisoner in their own own. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Roy Pickard with his wife who are being terrorised by seagulls and kept prisoner in their own own. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Frantic Roy phoned the RSPCA, the RSPB, Wyre Council and even a number of national newspapers in a desperate attempt to get help, before Graham Liver, of BBC Radio Lancashire, came to the rescue.

After Roy spoke to him, the BBC man and a firm crew visited the couple's home and arranged for a gazebo to be set up temporarily, right outside the door, to provide some relief for the couple.

Roy, of Wyresdale Road, Knott End, said: "It started on the Friday last week and it's been absolutely terrible.

"I've not been able to go out of the front door and there is no way out from the back.

Roy Pickard talks with Graham Liver from BBC Radio Lancashire after he put up a gazebo to help him and his wife get out of the house. Photo: Kelvin Stutatrd

Roy Pickard talks with Graham Liver from BBC Radio Lancashire after he put up a gazebo to help him and his wife get out of the house. Photo: Kelvin Stutatrd

"If that bird had hit me in the face instead of the back of the head, I dread to think how seriously injured I would have been.

"Thankfully, we have an integrated garage and I can get into it from the kitchen, open the garage door and drive out to get our shopping, but I have to leave the garage door open, which isn't ideal.

"I had to go to Royal Lancaster Infirmary to get treatment but thankfully I could get in the car.

"My wife isn't well and not very mobile at the moment so we're relying on me to get out. If I try and get out of the door, the two adult birds are right there and I've got no chance, it's genuinely frightening."

He added: "The RSPCA and RSPB have been no help whatsoever, they seem to put the rights of these birds above those of people, which is ridiculous. The public pays donations to keep these organisations going, and this is what you get.

"Wyre Council sent a man down and he took a photo, and then they seemed to be telling me they would bring someone else around with an umbrella to protect us.

"But they don't seem to be able to do anything about the birds - and these chicks could be there until the end of July.

"Why are seagulls protected?

"They are not an endangered species, they're a flaming nuisance!"

Roy praised Graham Liver and Radio Lancashire for their help.

He said: "They are the only ones who seem to have taken our situation seriously and offered practical help."

A Wyre Council spokesman said: "“We sympathise with Mr Pickard’s situation, seagulls can be troublesome, particularly when nesting.

"We have visited Mr Pickard to assess the situation and have given advice on how he can deal with the gulls.

"For now, a solution is in place which will enable Mr Pickard to take his wife to her private appointment.

"The gulls in question are Herring Gulls and they are protected once nesting and so there are limited solutions available.

"We advise residents who have a problem with seagulls to bird proof their properties prior to the breeding season.

"We offer advice and support on our website on how you can bird proof you property at www.wyre.gov.uk/seagulls.”