People have been warned not to feed seagulls because seaside visitors are being attacked and having their food stolen.

In an appeal to the public, Arun District Council said people should think about the "budget and safety" of those enjoying their food on the seafront before feeding the gulls.

It said giving them food encourages them to attack people eating in public, which can cause injuries and is a "frightening experience".

READ MORE: Brighton named the 'seagull attack hotspot' of the UK 

It also means people can lose food they have just bought - and they may not be able to afford to buy more.

A spokesman for Arun District Council said: "Seagulls don’t need feeding.

"If you are visiting the coast, please do not feed the seagulls. Fish and chips or bread crusts are not good for seagulls to eat.

"It also encourages them to attack people with food, causing possible injuries, loss of food just purchased from the local traders and a frightening experience.

"This may not seem an important issue if it hasn’t happened to you, but please think about the health of the seagulls and the budget and safety of those enjoying their chips."

Earlier this year another part of the county was named as the UK's seagull attack hotspot.

A WhichBingo survey of 2,000 people from across the country found that almost 20 per cent  had experienced a run-in with a seagull in Brighton.

It found that 43 per cent had been targeted by the birds at some point in their lives.

Almost one in three attacks had resulted in people being cut on the head and most of the attacks happened when birds had tried to steal chips.

Last week an employee at Fatto a Mano in Gloucester Road, Brighton, reported that she had an entire pizza slice stolen out of her hand while she was enjoying her break outside.

She told The Argus she noticed the seagull perching nearby and as she was about to eat the pesto and courgette slice it swooped down and stole the whole lot, leaving her empty-handed and in shock.

Another woman said she was left stunned after she was swooped on by seagulls during a city break.

Monique Sveinsson, 46, was visiting Brighton for a short weekend break in 2020 when she was bombarded by seagulls along the seafront.

She told The Argus at the time: "I threw the chips into the air and there was a couple having a canoodle on the beach, which is unfortunately where the seagulls descended.

"They got through both boxes of chips in seconds.

"What upset me more than anything was they cost £8. I don't know why the chip shop didn't warn me.

"I've been to Brighton before but I didn't realise they were that bad."

In advice to the public, Falcon Environmental Services said people should move out of the gulls' way if they are being attacked and should find something to protect themselves from them.

A spokesman said: "Don’t wave your arms or try and shoo it away. You will just provoke and intensify its agitation. If you are going to raise them it should be to protect yourself. 

"Umbrellas are a good line of defence – if you have one on you then you may be wise to use it. A hat is also a good way to stop your head from getting hurt."