The Scottish government has declared war on increasingly aggressive urban seagulls.

The initial battle will be joined in the southwestern town of Dumfries during next spring's breeding season when a special anti-gull "task force" will seek to destroy nests and drive out the birds.

"Seagulls are a menace to Scottish towns and cities," said Environment Minister Michael Russell. "They thrive on litter and their aggressive behaviour towards other birds, pets and even people is increasing."

He said Dumfries had a particular problem with regular reports of gulls "dive-bombing" humans.

Russell said he had even heard of a young paperboy in Dumfries "who has had to abandon his deliveries due to constant attacks from the birds."

Dumfries town councillor Jack Groom said the time for talk was over, adding that it was time for action before a human was seriously hurt by the gulls.