Startling footage has emerged online of a seagull taking a woman completely by surprise as it swoops in to steal a whole pasty out of her hands.
The TikTok video begins innocuously as it shows the young woman casually sitting on a beach in Lyme Regis, Dorset, and pulling what appears to be a whole pasty out of a brown paper bag.
Another voice off camera can be heard encouraging the smiling woman to eat the tasty snack as she holds it up before taking a big bite.
But before she can even start chewing a ferocious seagull swoops in from above, snatching the entire pasty out of her hands in one swift movement.
The bird can be heard squawking as the camera is knocked downwards showing the pebbled beach and two cans of pop.
The viral footage, which has been viewed 2.6 million times and received more than 333,000 likes, is captioned “wait for it” and “Not the food” along with a laughing with tears emoji.
A slow motion replay of the alarming clip is then played out so viewers can get a better look at the feathered food thief as it swipes the pasty out of the woman’s hands with its beak.
“Don’t worry I bought her another one after,” joked the user who uploaded the video adding: “It’s Lyme Regis if anyone wants to square up to the seagull who did this.”
The incident follows a report by The Sunday Times which showed that in the last five years since rules came in to protect nests and eggs, attacks from seagulls have risen from 544 in 2016 to 956 in 2020 and 1,075 in 2021.
Most incidents involve mess and noise complaints but one in four local authorities highlighted physical attacks by gulls on people or pets.
Councils were once able to employ “lethal control” of herring gulls as part of their wider permission to restrict the numbers of problem birds.
But in 2019 after campaigning from conservationists, gulls were removed from the general licence and councils required to apply on a case by case basis.