£800 of your money to rescue a seagull

PUBLISHED: 15:34 02 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:25 10 June 2010

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2: HOW many firefighters does it take to rescue a seagull? Apparently, two crews of 10 firefighters and around £800 of taxpayers' money. In the past month East Devon has had three seagull rescues - in Exmouth one crew of five managed to rescue a seagull from

HOW many firefighters does it take to rescue a seagull? Apparently, two crews of 10 firefighters and around £800 of taxpayers' money.In the past month East Devon has had three seagull rescues - in Exmouth one crew of five managed to rescue a seagull from the television aerial of a house on Green Close and rushed it to the local vets, only for it to die.A source within the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: "Rescuing seagulls is a waste of money."They are vermin. We wouldn't be sent to rescue a rat stuck up a drainpipe."The previous day it took 10 firefighters to free a seagull in Ferry Road, Topsham, trapped in boat rigging. Campaign Director Mark Wallace said: "It is fortunate for the bird but we are always hearing that the fire brigade are overstretched."We have got to be careful - it is money taken from their budget." Tax Payers' Alliance estimate that it takes anything from £400 to £1,000 to rescue one seagull.An RSPCA spokesperson said: "In many instances the RSPCA is able to rescue animals themselves. Working with the fire service means we can deal with situations professionally and safely and we're very grateful."The alternative would have been to leave these birds to potentially starve to death." Paul Slaven, Fire Service PR Officer, said: "If there was another incident happening at the same time where human life was at risk we would prioritise. We can claim back expenses for animal rescues from the RSPCA."l Latest Fire Service cuts will reduce firefighter posts on the Exeter dual-crew aerial appliance.l Herring gulls, under the Wildlife Act, can be killed if all other non-lethal methods to control them have been tried beforehand.

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