A man was injured when a greedy gull decided to steal his breakfast.
Stephen Sullivan was dive-bombed by one of the huge sea birds yesterday when it swooped down and snatched the snack from his hand.
The 29-year-old, who works in the marketing department at the Customs House, had popped into Greggs, in King Street, South Shields, for the most important meal of the day on his way to the office.
But poor Stephen was left hungry when a seagull snatched the bacon butty and guzzled it all up.
Stephen, who lives in Stanhope Road, South Shields, said: “I’d just come out with a bacon sandwich and went to put it in my mouth when a seagull flew at me and hit my neck. I obviously flinched and, as I did, it swooped back and took my bacon sandwich out my hand.
“They’re huge. I was terrified. I’ve never actually witnessed it happening before even though I’ve heard of it. I just thought it was kind of like an urban legend, I didn’t think they’d actually take them out of your hand.”
I’ve never actually witnessed it happening before even though I’ve heard of it, but I just thought it was kind of like an urban legend, I didn’t think they’d actually take them out of your hand.Stephen Sullivan
Not only was the actor left with a rumbling stomach but the crafty creature left his mark on Stephen by scratching his neck.
A spokesman for the RSPB said: “We often get reports of seagulls taking people’s food from their hands at the seaside.
“This is learned behaviour, so someone will have deliberately fed these birds in the past and when they see someone holding food they think it’s being held out for them and they’ll swoop down and take it.
“The RSPB would advise that people don’t feed the gulls because it will create these problems for people.”
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council said: “Seagulls are a very common sight in South Shields as they are in any other seaside town. We do not think seagulls are any more of a problem here than in other coastal towns or cities anywhere else.
“They are opportunistic birds and will take food when it is offered or available.
“We have signage in place strongly advising people not to feed the birds. We also have measures in place to prevent birds from roosting and nesting in the town centre area. Though we cannot guarantee that this sort of incident will not occur occasionally.”