If there’s any concern about seagulls possibly taking your food while out at the beach, a new study says to simply stare the birds down.

The study was conducted by the University of Exeter in Devon, England, as a means of helping coastal Britain deal with the flocks of seagulls that have been filling the beachfronts as of late.

Due to excessive feeding by locals and tourists, gulls have become bolder in snatching food out of people’s hands. This has resulted in towns like Scarborough to issue warnings not to feed the birds to try and curb the gulls’ boldness, even posting signs around the waterfronts.

The university’s research showed that as aggressive as the gulls can be, staring at them is one of the best deterrents.

“Gulls are often seen as aggressive and willing to take food from humans, so it was interesting to find that most wouldn’t even come near during our tests,” said Madeleine Goumas. Goumas works at the Center for Ecology and Conservation at Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall and was the lead author on the research.

According to Goumas, the research group tried testing 74 herring gulls by leaving a bag of chips seemingly unattended.

However, most of the gulls ended up flying away or didn’t approach the bag.

Twenty-seven of the gulls did end up approaching the chips while being stared at but were noted as approaching much slower than normal. Nineteen also completed the “looking at” and “flying away” tests.

Normandy Beach 2019 Part 2
Tourists walk along the promenade at Étretat, north-western France on July 17, 2018. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images