Man sentenced for killing gull that tried to steal his chips

Witnesses gave “credible and compelling” accounts in court of the attack on a wild bird.

Lesser black-backed gull calling on the Farne Islands. © David Tipling/Getty

Please note that this article contains an image of the gull that some readers may find distressing.

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A man was sentenced at Weston-super-Mare Magistrates Court after grabbing a lesser black-backed gull by the legs and smashing it into a wall during a trip to the seaside.

John Llewellyn Jones, 64, killed the gull at Weston-super-Mare on 17 July 2018, after it tried to pinch his chips and subsequently knocked them out of his hand.

“Witnesses saw the attack – and shocked by-standers, including children, had to look on as the man killed the gull,” says Simon Evans, RSPCA inspector.

“This was an unthinkable and despicable way to treat an animal,” he continues, “the gull was smashed against a wall by the man, solely because it knocked chips from his hand.”

The lesser black-backed gull killed in Weston Super Mare. © RSPCA
The lesser black-backed gull killed in Weston Super Mare. © RSPCA

The man was found guilty of a Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 offence at North Somerset Magistrates’ Court in Weston-super-Mare on Tuesday 12 March 2019.

Gulls are protected under Section 1 of the Act, and the man committed an offence by killing the wild bird.

Jones had pleaded not guilty, but magistrates listened to two witnesses, and said their accounts were “credible and compelling”, before finding the man guilty of the offence.

John Llewellyn Jones was found guilty of killing the gull.
John Llewellyn Jones was found guilty of killing the gull.

He was sentenced to a 12-week curfew, applicable between the hours of 8pm and 8am, which began immediately. The man was also ordered to pay £750 in costs, and a £85 victim surcharge.

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RSPCA Cymru say the man showed “blatant disregard for animal welfare” and “cared more for his chips than what his actions did to the poor gull”.