Britain's seaside towns are at war with their seagulls, swarmed by the birds that are constantly snatching tidbits like potato chips from tourists' hands.

A potential solution to reduce the aerial snack attacks could lie with the human eye.

Research from the UK's University of Exeter suggests an easy way for tourists to deter the gulls - is just stare at them.

Their research shows that with a human staring at them, seagulls took 21 seconds longer to approach a bag of chips then when they were unobserved.

The researchers tried to test 74 gulls but most flew away or would not approach. Of the 27 that did approach the bait food, 19 completed the "looking at" and "looking away" tests.

Local officials are also encouraging tourists to stop feeding the birds, which makes them especially aggressive and bold in snatching food from people.