KIND-HEARTED bakery staff have been reimbursing customers for snacks swiped out of their hands by a hungry gull.

Over the last couple of weeks, dozens of Greggs customers in Bournemouth have been caught unawares by the brazen bird, which has a penchant for pasties, sausage rolls and donuts.

Even this reporter was swooped on by the winged food thief as she stepped out of the Old Christchurch Road store and went to take a bite of her cheese and onion slice.

Assistant manager Rob Dobson said he had been replacing stolen snacks for free after a number of people said they had fallen victim to the ‘Greggs gull’.

Speaking to the Daily Echo at the store yesterday, he said: “For the last two weeks I’ve had quite a few customers telling me their sausage rolls, baguettes, and donuts have been nicked. The whole thing has been taken out of their hands. The bird’s a cheeky little thing.

“When people have come back to the shop to tell me I’ve given them a replacement for free. It’s what any of my staff would do.”

He added: “I have told people as well not to eat their food outside the store in case it attracts the seagull.”

Earlier this year, Bournemouth and Poole councils confirmed they had no plans to ban people from feeding gulls after new rules were introduced in West Dorset.

West Dorset District Council said the measure, which came into force in April, was part of a new Public Space Protection Order. At the time it said the new rules had been drawn-up after residents responded to a consultation on how public spaces should be managed.

Signs in West Bay and Lyme Regis warn people about the ban, and anyone who ignores it could receive a £100 fine or be prosecuted.

When asked previously if a similar ban would be introduced in Bournemouth, a council spokesperson said: “We do discourage people from feeding seagulls through notices on the seafront but there are no plans whatsoever to introduce a PSPO around feeding of gulls.”

Poole council also confirmed no ban was planned.