'We've had no reports of anybody being attacked yet,' Mike Foxley, Penwith District Council's tourism and marketing officer, said yesterday. 'But the council decided it would be a sensible preventative measure.'
The problem, Mr Foxley explained, went back to the council's decision at this time last year to change the Cornish town's refuse receptacles from the traditional black plastic bags to wheelie-bins.
'The gulls used to rip open the black bags and get their food out. When we switched to the plastic wheelie-bins, they could no longer get inside and so they started pestering people as they sat around the harbour.'
Each summer tens of thousands of packed lunches accompany their owners on the benches that line St Ives's crescent- shaped harbour.
Mr Foxley said the gulls swooped 'excited by the plentiful and free supply' on offer. 'People come specially with bags of seed to feed the birds and it only encourages them, you know.'