A BMW showroom was forced to provide umbrellas to customers because of an “aerial bombardment” from seagulls attracted to a nearby waste site.
The gulls have been blamed for peppering the cars and customers with droppings, dive-bombing staff and even dropping leftover chicken carcasses.
The problem has got so bad, bosses at the Vines dealership in Guildford, Surrey, are now handing customers brollies and telling them to beware of the gulls.
Workers at the showroom say they get ‘splattered like a dalmatian’ if they stand about too long in the forecourt, which is right next to a waste transfer station where rubbish is taken before being sent to landfill sites.
Mark Hollands, the principal dealer at Vines, said the waste site – managed by SITA on behalf of Surrey County Council – is making life a misery and is costing them thousands extra to clean and repair cars.
He said that dustcarts dump their loads at the site at least three times a day and that this is now attracting up to 100 gulls at a time who scavenge on the leftover grub.
He said today (Tue): “We have to warn our customers to use umbrellas when they are out on the forecourt.
“If you don’t run to the showroom from your car, you will look like a dalmatian.
“We have had chicken carcasses and tea bags dropped on our forecourt. Chicken carcasses, dropped from a great height, will dent the cars.
“The worst thing is that bird poo eats the paint work. It has acid in it, and if you let it lie on the cars too long it will damage the paint.”
He said that the reason for the birds being attracted to the site is that the rubbish has been left uncovered for the past month – whereas previously workers at the site had ensured all waste was fully hidden from gulls.
Gareth Swain, regional manager at SITA Surrey, said: “We’re aware that seagulls have started to congregate in the Slyfield Industrial estate) area again and continue to review our control measures.
“In addition to ongoing operational best practice as agreed with the Environment Agency, as of next week we will be permanently flying two hawk kites at the site to act as a deterrent to the birds.
“The site fully complies with EA legislation and the agency is aware of our measures to control the birds.”
James Liney from the Environment Agency said: “Our Environment Agency officers have been on site and have confirmed that the operator is doing everything they can to cover waste to discourage the gulls.
“We are monitoring the situation and if the problem persists we will work with the site operator to adjust their ways of working.”
One joker, who lives locally, said: “Looks like seagulls don’t like BMW drivers either!”