Mammoth danger! Fossil hunters in north Norfolk warned to avoid repeat of cliff collapse tragedy

A mammoth family, featured on the West Runton elephant-inspired mural being painted on Sheringham pr

A mammoth family, featured on the West Runton elephant-inspired mural being painted on Sheringham promenade by artist David Barber. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Mammoth molars, what is believed to be a hippo head and bison bones are among some of the amazing finds unearthed along the north Norfolk coast following the weekend storm surge.

The scene at Thorpeness, as rescuers attempted to free a man trapped underneath a collapsed cliff. P

The scene at Thorpeness, as rescuers attempted to free a man trapped underneath a collapsed cliff. Photo: Nick Boulter. - Credit: Nick Boulter

But fossil hunters are being warned to take extra care when exploring the beach for clues to the area's past following the death of a man who was crushed underneath a collapsed cliff in Thorpeness, Suffolk.

A section of the Norfolk Coast path has collapsed at West Runton where many of the finds have been made. The beach was made famous by the discovery of one of the most complete skeletons of a mammoth ever found back in 1990.

And many more discoveries have been made since then.

But the Coastguard have issued a warning after a child was seen digging into the cliffs at West Runton on Sunday. They pointed out the area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and digging into the cliffs there is an offence.

This tusk-like object was unearthed at West Runton. Picture: LOUISE O'SHEA

This tusk-like object was unearthed at West Runton. Picture: LOUISE O'SHEA - Credit: LOUISE O'SHEA


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A public announcement on Cromer and Sheringham Coastguard's Facebook page read: 'Please don't all become time team experts and start digging into a very unstable SSSI protected cliffs. We have already had a cliff collapse onto a person in Suffolk which killed the male.

'We strongly advise all members of the public to not walk under the cliffs or near to the edge on top and keep all pets away from the base at present. Shockingly children are still climbing the faces and digging significant holes into the cliffs.

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'If your child goes to the beach please ensure that they are not doing this for their own safety. They could give way without any notice and collapse in or on top of someone.'

And it added: 'SSSI protection means you would be committing an offence if you dig into these cliffs.'

Margaret Hems pictured on the dig at West Runton beach, the site where she found the West Runton ele

Margaret Hems pictured on the dig at West Runton beach, the site where she found the West Runton elephant bone in 1990. Picture: submitted - Credit: Archant

The public is being advised to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard if they see anyone get into difficulties on the seafront.

The statement explained: 'In the worst instance of someone becoming buried ensure that you try and keep a exact visual on where the person was last seen so it helps the emergency services to recover in the correct area.'

West Runton Beach.

West Runton Beach. - Credit: Archant

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