People heading to the Welsh coasts are advised to be wary of gulls as their nesting season approaches.

As families make the most of the May bank holiday weekend, the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is urging caution during gull nesting season, which particularly heightens in April and May.

The BPCA has noted instances where gulls have displayed aggression towards humans.

Gulls build nests after mating in February and March and will subsequently protect their nests towards the end of April and start of May.

The BPCA advises avoiding nests, as disturbing birds during their breeding season could lead to prosecution under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The act states that all wild birds and their eggs are protected, however, appropriate measures can be taken by licensed professionals if gulls come to present a public health and safety concern.

Natalie Bungay, technical manager at BPCA, said: "We love British birds.

"All wild birds and their eggs are rightfully protected by law in the UK, so it is absolutely vital that holidaymakers, householders or business owners don’t interfere with them.

"However, gulls can pose a serious safety concern.

"They have been known to attack people unexpectedly, which can be a frightening experience, especially if they draw blood, which can occasionally happen.

"We often think of gulls as a coastal problem – which they can be in seaside towns where people have fed them regularly. But for some time now they have also been an increasing problem in towns and cities away from the coast too."

Gulls can live for up to 30 years, weighing about 1kg with wingspans up to a metre.

Seaside visitors are advised to refrain from feeding gulls and keep food out of their sight to avoid attracting them.

Gull nests can lead to water overflows, potential carbon monoxide issues, and infestations from pests such as mites, ticks, fleas, and beetles.

Ms Bungay added: "Gulls are also protected by the law, so it really is important to seek professional help.

"BPCA members are trained in bird control and will be able to offer a management plan that will alleviate the issue.

"There are a variety of bird-proofing measures available."

Bird droppings from gulls can also carry harmful bacteria and diseases which could pose a risk to properties.

The BPCA encourages property owners to consult BPCA members before considering any form of bird management.