John Walsh: Don't rile the seagulls: they're vicious brutes

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The Independent Online

Airborne criminals No 1. Customers leaving a shopping centre in Cheltenham and approaching the car park are being dive-bombed by seagulls. They're big brutes, nearly two feet tall – and so aggressive that two parking levels have been forced to close. But why target Cheltenham? I think we know. Last August, Cheltenham Borough Council revealed that they were considering shooting gulls, in response to complaints about their screeching. They planned to set up several "feeding stations" and cull the birds in mid-lunch. Did they really think the news wouldn't get back to Gull HQ?

* New social trend from the States is the Shrink Party, where you invite half a dozen madcap chums round for drinks, and get a psychologist along to take notes and "oversee" the evening. Guests must arrive with personal problems which they're prepared to chew over in front of everybody. A leading women's magazine tried it out: among the guest conversations was Anger Management, "Imposter Syndrome" (when you think you're rubbish at your job but haven't been found out) and Compulsive Self-Analysis – but absolutely no sex. It never reared its head at all. I mean, want kind of party is that?

* Airborne criminals No 2. Prisoners at a jail in Colombia have trained pigeons to smuggle drugs into cells. Police discovered the scam when they found a pigeon with 40g of marijuana and 5g of cocaine paste strapped to its back. It was discovered a block away from the prison. Gradually the feds realised what had happened: it had been trained to fly over the prison wall and into a certain window, bearing gifts, but had been so loaded down with narcotic contraband it was unable to clear the wall. The bird with the excess baggage was not held for questioning, and is being looked after by the ecological police unit.

* A middle-aged squatter has won the hearts of the residents of a small Devon village. A ruined dwelling nicknamed "Eyesore Cottage" had stood empty in Harberton for 30 years until Mr Bill Davies moved in, painted the outside walls, put flowers in tubs and carried out some rudimentary repairs. Now he's threatened with eviction – and the villagers are raising £150 to pay his legal costs and let him stay. I sense a new Ealing comedy in the making...