NORTH-EAST holidaymakers heading for Spain this year may soon have to replace their sun hats with hard hats to combat their new number one enemy – parrots, writes David Anderson from the Costa del Sol..

The pesky parakeets are bombarding the Costas, loudly screeching morning, noon and night.

The birds love the Costa del Sol coast – targeting hot spots like Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola.

And the situation is now so bad that a team of marksmen may soon be on patrol to shoot down the squawking squadrons.

The brightly coloured birds were introduced to Spain in the 1970s and after a few pets escaped, they soon took over the skies.

Called monk parakeets, the bright green and grey-breasted birds originally came from Argentina, but now they have been classed as an invasive species and Spanish authorities are allowed to cull them.

It got so bad, even pet shop sales were banned in the hope of preventing more escaping into the wild.

The Costa del Sol has been particularly badly hit with an estimated 30,000 parrots in the Malaga area alone.

Brits in an apartment block above a karaoke bar in Fuengirola are being kept awake – not by the loud music, but by the screeching of a cavorting colony roosting in nearby palm trees.

Pensioner Margaret Ramsay, who used to live in Stanhope, County Durham, said: “The noise is terrible. If I was in a room there I would ask to be moved.

“I pass the apartments every day and the noise is horrendous. These parrots just never stop.”

She added: “I have been coming here for years and every year it gets worse.

“These birds are everywhere taking over the trees all along the seafront. I really pity anyone whose apartment or hotel room is next to trees.They’ll not get much sleep.”

She added:”Its a shame as they are very pretty birds, but I’m afraid something must be done – they’re spoiling the holidays.

“To be honest, it’s worse than the seagull problem we have back home in the North-East.”