Employee of the month! Fish and chip shop worker moonlights as an EAGLE to stop seagulls stealing food on Whitby seafront
A fish and chip shop worker has gone above and beyond to ensure that customers in the seaside town of Whitby can enjoy their fare undisturbed.
So invested in customer service is Corey Grieveson, 18, that he has taken to dressing up as an eagle to stop seagulls from interrupting the meals of locals and holidaymakers alike.
Seagulls are notorious for swooping down and stealing food on the Whitby seafront.
Corey, who has lived in Whitby his whole life, told the BBC that people are ‘spending £30 on a meal for their family and it’s all gone’ thanks to the fast-acting birds.
He added that he loves eagles and considers scaring away the gulls as ‘the perfect job’.
Corey Grieveson, 18, dons an eagle costume to deter seagulls from stealing food from locals and holidaymakers on Whitby seafront
Corey can often be seen flapping his wings and chasing after the seagulls in Whitby where he has become something of a local celebrity.
‘This works, they’re not around now,’ he said.
Not only does he receive regular praise from passersby for his efforts, but he also gets asked to pose for pictures in his eagle costume.
Visitors can support Corey’s work by refraining from deliberately feeding the gulls.
However, customers in Whitby are by no means having the worst time of it after a study found that gulls in the south of Britain, especially in the West Country, are bolder than those up north.
He has become something of a local celebrity and is frequently stopped by visitors asking him to pose for pictures
The greater presence of holidaymakers, with their ice creams and fish and chips, may have made the birds less timid, because the chances of being able to snatch some food are higher.
Researchers at the universities of Plymouth and Glasgow are carrying out a project using an app called Gulls Eye, which asks people to record their interactions with seagulls.
Early results show seagulls are less nervous in the south, where they are willing to get closer to people.
In Brixham, the popular Devon fishing town on the so-called ‘English riviera’, seagulls get within 11.8 metres – less than 40 feet – of people.
In Plymouth, where the city offers even more fast food options, the gulls approach at an average distance of 11.7 metres.
But further north, in Glasgow, they stay twice as far away, on average, at more than 80 feet, or 25 metres, from people.
In Shetland, this increases to almost 74 metres – more than 240 feet.
Dr Ruedi Nager, a seabird researcher from the University of Glasgow, who provided the snapshot results from across the UK, said: ‘There is a geographical difference in how bold seagulls are, it appears.
‘They are more willing to approach people in the south and more reluctant in the north.
‘In the south there may be more pasties and fish and chips being eaten, so there are more gains for seagulls.
‘But also there has been a decline in fishing on the south coast, so seagulls can’t get as much food from fishing discards as they used to.’