BRIGHTON beach has been ranked as the worst spot in the UK for seagull attacks.

More than half the 1,640 Brits who took part in a recent survey have been ambushed by the birds across the UK.

The seafront in Brighton was listed as the most common place for seagulls to dive-bomb and steal food, followed by Blackpool beach and Whitby beach.

The Argus: Brighton beach earlier this summerBrighton beach earlier this summer

Hastings beach was number ten in the list compiled by caravan insurers Caravan Guard, while the city of London came in at number eight.

People said they had been attacked by seagulls trying to snatch food such as fish and chips and ice cream, as well as other items including hats, sunglasses and handbags.

Some said the gulls had even targeted their pets.

Last month, a woman on a mini break in Brighton was left shaken after a colony of gulls swooped down on her as she tried to carry two boxes of chips across the beach.

WATCH: Woman chased by seagulls across Brighton beach

Monique Sveinsson, who described the attack as “like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds”, was forced to hastily abandon her food.

The mother of two from Cambridgeshire said: “I threw the chips into the air and they got through them in seconds.

“I’ve been to Brighton before but I didn’t realise they were that bad.”

In January, security staff at the University of Sussex displayed signs warning students of impending “attacks” from the seaside scavengers.

The Argus:

According to a study published in the Royal Society journal Open Science earlier this year, seagulls prefer food which has been handled by humans.

Seagulls will swoop down on people holding ice creams and other treats because they see it as a sign of food availability and “use human handling as a cue”.

In addition to the survey, Caravan Guard listed the best ways people can protect themselves against divebombing seagulls.

If it must be visible, food should be kept close to the body. Gulls may swoop towards people carrying food as a warning.

Beachgoers can defend themselves from approaching gulls by raising their arms to protect their head and then moving away, although waving the arms can make gulls more agitated. 

Liz Harrison at Caravan Guard said: “Our survey highlighted just how common seagull attacks are across the UK with some popular seaside destinations being prone hotspots.

“We want UK holidaymakers to enjoy their breaks away without the traumatic experience of being dive-bombed by a seagull.

“We hope the tips we’ve shared allow for an enjoyable weekend away and a time to relax.”