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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Netting to stop school seagulls
A seagull
The birds were taken to a sanctuary in Woodingdean
Netting is to be put up at a school in Sussex after seagulls started swooping on staff in the playground.

St Mark's School in Brighton, East Sussex, had to close on Tuesday, because of the risk to pupils and so a nest of three chicks could be removed from its roof.

The decision to shut the school was taken after adult gulls became agitated and dived over the school caretaker, head teacher Sharie Coombes said.

None of the 260 children at the school, who are aged between three and 11, were attacked, but it was decided the birds posed an unacceptable potential danger.

Sanctuary home

The nest and gulls were removed under licence from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

They were then transferred to a sanctuary nearby in Woodingdean.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokeswoman said: "St Mark's CE Primary School was closed on health and safety grounds.

"The seagulls, who have young chicks, had been becoming more and more agitated and although no children have been attacked, they posed a threat to them.

"The decision to close the school was not taken lightly but the safety of the children is paramount.

"The council will be putting up netting and carrying out other preventative measures at the school to prevent a repeat of the problem."

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