Seagulls are being blamed for making Aberystwyth an eyesore
Litter patrols with a difference have started in a seaside town to combat seagull attacks on bin bags.
Ceredigion Council says gulls and other animals are making parts of Aberystwyth unsightly by ripping open refuse sacks in the search for food.
Bin bags are supposed to be put out on the day of collection, but officials said some were put out days in advance.
Those flouting the regulations could be issued with fixed penalty notices if problems persist.
Huw Williams, assistant director of Ceredigion Council's housing and environmental services, said: "The patrols are identifying people who are not complying with the rules and they are then being advised to place their refuse out on the day of collection.
"If people don't comply then they could be issued with fixed penalty notices for littering in the future."
Mr Williams said parts of Aberystwyth were an eyesore because refuse sacks had been left out sometimes days in advance of collection, and had become targets for birds and other animals.
The university town of Aberystywth is a popular tourist destination
He said a number of councillors had contacted his office to complain about the problem.
Bryan Thomas, director of housing and environmental services, said: "We all want to see Aberystwyth portrayed in the best possible way but, unfortunately, the behaviour of some individuals is not acceptable and is having a negative impact on the appearance of the town in general."
In 2004, Aberystwyth town councillors called on Ceredigion Council to introduce secure "community bins" for a trial period in the worst affected areas.
Mr Williams admitted it was difficult to store waste ahead of collection, but littering had become a problem in the town.