Picture Gallery: Seals return to the sea after rehabilitation in Hunstanton

Seven seals were released back into the wild this morning by staff from the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary.

The eager common seals darted straight to the water after being released by the centre's animal care team at Snettisham beach at 7.45am.

The seals were found on beaches around the Norfolk coast in June and July and spent the summer and start of autumn rehabilitating at the centre before their release.

Hollie Stephenson, part of the animal care team, said: 'We'll miss them because we've got to know them all so well but at the same time it is be great to see them go back into the wild where they belong.'

She added: 'Katy was my favourite. She was the smallest at 6.5kg when she came in but has gone out at 36kg which is fantastic. She used to suckle on the bottom of my shoe when I used to check on her and I will miss her.'

The first seals to arrive at the centre were Robbie and Lisa who were both found on Snettisham beach on June 18. Pups Vicky and Katy were the next to be rescued on June 26 and 30, respectively.

Vicky was only six-days-old when she was found her on Heacham beach with a small wound above her left eye whereas Katy was showing signs of dehydration when she was found on Snettisham beach.

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Staff at the centre then rescued one-year-old Linda who was found on Brancaster beach on July 12 with several cuts on her belly and rear flippers and still bleeding.

Two weeks later, pup Simon was found at Cley-next-the-sea, near Holt, with a number of injuries to his body, flippers and around his eye.

The final seal pip to be rescued and rehabilitated was Tracey who was found at Burnham Ovary-Staithe on July 30 with multiple cuts on her flippers and mouth.

Tabitha Howe, spent a month on work experience at the centre in the summer and travelled from her home in Sheffield for the release.

The 18-year-old said: 'It was quite sad watching them go after seeing them getting better for a month but it is incredibly rewarding because of the hard work we put in to making them better.'

She added: 'My favourite was Simon because he was the first rescue I was involved with and we went out at midnight for him. It's great to see him back out in the wild.'

*For pictures and the full story of the release see tomorrow's EDP

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