A POLICE car parked up in a car park has been put out of action after a pair of protected seagulls have nested on its roof.

Officers at Bridport Police Station are unable to clear the clump of twigs and branches of the police car, parked up at the site's car park, because it is illegal to damage or destroy a birds' nest under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Instead they have coned off the patrol car to keep members of the public away from it.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Pic: Graham Hunt/BNPSPic: Graham Hunt/BNPS

A spokesman for the RSPB said they were reassured that the birds would be safe while under police protection, but as the nesting season for seagulls runs until July, the police car could be out of use for some time.

The unusual incident has seen a pair of herring gulls nest against the long blue strobe light fixed to the roof of the car, which is parked up just off Tannery Road.

The birds have been observed coming and going from it as they prepare to lay and incubate their eggs.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Pic: Graham Hunt/BNPSPic: Graham Hunt/BNPS

A resident said: "Clearly the police haven't had to use the car for a while, as it must have taken the seagulls some time to build a nest.

"Apparently they have been there for a few days, but I haven't seen any signs of eggs yet."

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: "Officers at Bridport Police Station noticed the nesting seagull three days ago and were aware that it should not be disturbed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

"We're now liaising with Natural England to explore what options are available to us in these unusual circumstances.

"As this is a spare vehicle, there are sufficient cars at the location to meet our operational requirements and there will be no impact on our daily activities. However, we are keen to get the vehicle operational as soon as possible."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Pic: Graham Hunt/BNPSPic: Graham Hunt/BNPS

An RSPB spokesperson said: "Whilst a somewhat surprising place for this lovely herring gull to nest, we hope that under the protection of the Dorset constabulary this bird will be safe from harm. Herring gulls are on the red list of highest conservation concern and like many seabirds face a range of threats.

"Nests can't be moved or destroyed while they're being built or still in use - apart from under certain exceptions to allow the control of certain birds for specific reasons under licence.

"Anyone found guilty of an offence could be given a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment and an unlimited fine, which can be imposed in respect of each bird, nest or egg affected."