People are being warned not to swim at a popular Norfolk beach over pollution fears.

The Environment Agency says bathing is 'not advised' at Heacham, near King's Lynn, as it begins its seasonal monitoring of water quality around our coastlines.

It says tests carried out between 2018 and 2022 showed "faecal pollution" had come from multiple sources including people, birds, dogs and cattle.

Extra tests are being carried out on the Heacham River to assess any potential impacts it may have on water quality.

Eastern Daily Press: The Heacham River near Heacham BeachThe Heacham River near Heacham Beach (Image: Chris Bishop)

An Anglian Water sewage plant discharges into one of its tributaries.

The EA said: "Improvements including UV disinfection were put in place at Heacham sewage treatment works by Anglian Water in 1998.

"This has been effective in reducing bacteria numbers from the sewage works into the Heacham river system."

READ MORE: How safe is it to swim in the sea off our beaches?

The water quality at Heacham is the poorest of any Norfolk beach.

Nearby Hunstanton is currently rated 'sufficient' while Wells is rated 'good'.

Eastern Daily Press: The Heacham River outfall, on Heacham BeachThe Heacham River outfall, on Heacham Beach (Image: Chris Bishop)

Sheringham, West Runton and Cromer are all rated 'excellent'.

Mundesley, Sea Palling and Hemsby are rated 'good', while Caister, Gorleston and Great Yarmough are rated 'excellent'.

The EA said it would be carrying our regular checks at all designated bathing waters between now and the end of September.

Test results and any warnings will be carried on its Swimfo website.

Eastern Daily Press: Water quality is rated 'excellent' at Cromer BeachWater quality is rated 'excellent' at Cromer Beach (Image: Newsquest)

EA chair Alan Lovell said: “England’s much loved beaches are an essential part of the Great British summer and many businesses and communities rely on their good health for tourism and trade.

“Bathing water sites have shown enormous improvements in recent decades following significant investment and hard work.

"There is still more to be done to ensure cleaner and healthier waters for people to enjoy. This will require a combined effort from water companies, farmers, regulators, councils, local businesses and the general public.”