Peacehaven's seagulls are dive-bombing and attacking humans after a spate of bird shootings.

Conservation experts say the birds have become “abnormally aggressive” in reaction to poor treatment by people in Peacehaven.

In scenes reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds, gulls have been flying at people and pecking at their pets.

The National Gull Rescue And Protection group said there had been dozens of calls about birds injured by people in the town in the past couple of weeks.

It said the gulls had been attacking residents after roofs were cleared of nests, eggs smashed and birds shot.

Tim McKenzie, from the charity, said: “We are getting more crimes against gulls in Peacehaven than the rest of the towns along the South Coast put together.

“Part of the problem is the birds have become abnormally aggressive there but it is a defensive action.”

Mr McKenzie said he had heard of at least ten cases of gulls being shot with BB guns in Peacehaven in the past couple of weeks.

Shooting a seagull is a criminal offence, with a maximum sentence of six months in jail or a £20,000 fine.

Last month the charity said there had been a spate of gulls being shot across Sussex, with more than 50 cases of deliberately wounded birds in Brighton, Hove, Eastbourne and Seaford.

Seagulls can often become aggressive if they feel their nests or young are under threat.

Rosemary Howat, of Livingstone Road, Hove, said a pair of birds had started attacking her after building a nest in her garden, even though she has been taking care of them.

Ms Howat said: “It’s got to the point where I can’t go outside in case they come at me.

“I need to get a hard hat to protect my head when I hang out my washing.

My cat is scared to go outside because they keep trying to attack it, but I know they are just trying to protect their chicks.”