A rare black fox has been spotted on the North Norfolk coast.

The sighting has been likened to that of Black Shuck - the mythical beast which is said to prowl the East Anglian coastline and appears in numerous ghost stories.

The elusive melanistic fox was spotted on Sheringham golf course in the early hours of Tuesday morning by photographer Chris Taylor.

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Mr Taylor said after being unable to sleep he decided to go out for a walk and it was while heading along Sheringham's cliffs that he spotted the fox running along the beach.

He said: "I went out for a walk on the cliffs around 4am, at about 4.45am I came down to the Old Hythe where the cliffs meet the beach and the golf course. I saw a black dog running on the beach towards the cliffs and thought it was a fox but was confused by how it was black."

Mr Taylor said he ducked down and got his phone out to film the fox, which trotted off the beach and onto the golf course, where it paused to look directly at him.

"It was amazing. I've never seen [a black fox] before. As it ran I did look at it wondering if it was a fox or if it was some sort of escaped species but it was a fox," he said.

According to the group Black Foxes UK which campaigns to promote awareness of black foxes, the animals are extremely rare and are estimated to make up 0.1pc of the UK fox population.

Also known as silver foxes, the animals' dark coloured coats are caused by a melanistic gene, which is recessive.

Mr Taylor said while he had heard of previous sightings of black foxes in North Norfolk, seeing one for himself had been an amazing moment.

"It was brilliant. I was feeling fairly drowsy after having a rubbish night's sleep but that just made the whole thing worthwhile, it made my day.

"It wasn't aware of me at all for the first few seconds, it was a magical moment," he said.