UNSUSPECTING pedestrians have been sent diving for cover by overprotective seagulls defending their babies outside a Clacton dance studio.

The gulls have created a nest on the low roof at the front of Clacton Dance Foundation, off Skelmersdale Road.

They appeared last month and hatched a batch of babies.

Now the adult gulls are guarding their younglings, squawking at passers-by and even chasing some pedestrians away from the nest.

Dance Foundation boss Vanessa Rendell said: “They would squawk loudly whenever anyone came near so we thought they might be protecting something up there, but we didn’t know what until the little ones started poking their heads over the edge.

“They haven’t done anything to us other than make a lot of noise. The children normally use the side entrance anyway but they have been scurrying in pretty quickly if they use the front.

“Someone from one of the other businesses nearby parked right outside the studio one day. When the man got into their van to leave the seagull dived at the van and chased him away.

“They’ve marked out their territory and are really protective of the younglings but they’re not hurting us.”