People urged to keep away from dead whale on Hunstanton beach

Crowds keep coming to see the dead sperm whale on the beach at Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt

Crowds keep coming to see the dead sperm whale on the beach at Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

People are being urged to keep their distance from the dead whale stranded on the beach at Hunstanton, as it emerged that West Norfolk Council was still working with other agencies to arrange for its body to be removed and disposed of.

Crowds gather around the whale at Hunstanton on Sunday. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Crowds gather around the whale at Hunstanton on Sunday. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The whale got into difficulties on Friday night, and has now come to rest at the base of the cliffs.

Getting to the area with heavy plant and machine is extremely difficult – access is hampered by the large boulders at the base of the cliff and consideration has to be given to the fact that it is a Site of Special Specific Interest.

A borough council spokesman said: 'Thanks to support, assistance and advice from the Environment Agency, the Marine and Coastguard Agency and the Marine Management Organisation, a mechanism for removing the whale has now been agreed and work is under way to identify a location for the disposal of the whale.

'Once a suitable disposal site has been identified, removal will commence.

The sperm whale stranded on Hunstanton Beach near the cliffs. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The sperm whale stranded on Hunstanton Beach near the cliffs. Picture: Matthew Usher.

'We are working as expeditiously as we can but the size of this whale and its location have made the logistics of this task particularly challenging.

'Whilst the whale remains on the beach we would advise people to keep their distance as the carcass will start to decompose quite quickly.

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'Our earlier advice still stands and we would urge people to put their own safety first.'

Four other whales have also washed ashore in Skegness and Wainfleet, Lincolnshire.

The dead young adult male sperm whale beached in Norfolk, which was was part of a group of six spott

The dead young adult male sperm whale beached in Norfolk, which was was part of a group of six spotted in the Wash at Hunstanton on Friday. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A pod of six whales was originally spotted in shallow waters off the Norfolk coast on Friday afternoon, and Dr Peter Evans, director of the Seawatch Foundation, believes one more whale could soon be washed ashore on the east coast of England.

The creatures, which are all males, are among more than a dozen whales to die in the southern North Sea in recent weeks.

Six whales have died after being washed ashore in both Germany and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that a man was spotted taking a tooth from one of the dead carcasses at Skegness.

The dead sperm whale is still attracting visitors to Hunstanton beach. Picture: Ian Burt

The dead sperm whale is still attracting visitors to Hunstanton beach. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Scientists from the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme took samples from the carcass on Hunstanton beach, and will test the skin, blubber, teeth and blood to ascertain cause of death.

This then determines how the body is disposed of, either by incineration or disposal in landfill.

Dr Evans believes all the whale deaths are linked.

He thought they may have swam south through the North Sea looking for food, but became disorientated when they found themselves in the shallower water in Norfolk.

Advice from West Norfolk Council:

• Do not touch the whale or allow dogs to come into contact with it

• Shellfish in this area must not be collected for personal consumption

• Water sports enthusiasts including bathers should be aware that water quality could be affected - if you become unwell after using the water please seek medical advice

• Whilst we would prefer people to stay away from the whale, if you decide to come to look at it, make sure you are aware of the tides and are considering your own safety.