A VICAR is moving from his parish home after having serious trouble with certain members of his flock.
The Rev Colin Furness claims his home is too dangerous to live in – because he is getting attacked by seagulls every time he sets foot outside the door.
He says the "vicious" birds have swooped at least once a day since the gulls built their nests on a neighbour's roof a fortnight ago.
The 66-year-old said the eight-strong flock lash out with their sharp beaks as they dive-bomb his family and believes they are protecting a clutch of newly hatched chicks.
Now he fears serious injury at the bird's talons and beaks and said it was too dangerous to stay in the grounds of his rectory in Chard, Somerset.Mr Furness, the vicar of the Good Shepherd church in Furnham, Somerset, said: "The gulls can be really vicious. We can't go out in the back garden without getting attacked.
"At first it was just a couple of them, but then eight or nine joined in and now we can't get away from them.
"There is a nest on a nearby roof and I think the chicks have hatched and the adults are trying to protect them.
"One day we were going to sit on the patio with a coffee after lunch, but had to retreat inside."
He fears his wife Georgina, 54, and their 16-month-old grandson Josh could be injured by the bird's sharp beaks.
Mr Furness, who retires from the clergy next month after 40 years' service, added: "They swoop every time you leave the house, which is obviously not ideal.
"We can't let Josh play in the garden while this is going on – it's too dangerous."
The gulls are protected by law and cannot be killed without a licence from Natural England, the public body which overseas native wildlife.
Mr Furness says he has now reported the problem to South Somerset District Council.
Vicki Dawson, the council's environmental health officer, admitted there is no simple solution.
She said: "Gulls are an increasing national problem and unfortunately there's no easy answer.
"Birds are often offered protection under specific legislation.
"But individuals are able to apply for general licences from Natural England, which can allow people to take their own action – such as egg-oiling or removing