Police to take no action against West Norfolk youth advertising teeth and jaw from dead sperm whale at Old Hunstanton.

Investigations continue into sale of whale remains from Norfolk

Police have confirmed today they are taking no further action against a West Norfolk youth who advertised the teeth and jaw from a dead sperm whale at Old Hunstanton on Facebook.

A page appeared on the social network site selling 15 loose teeth and 11 still in the jaw at �5 each or �45 for the jaw. The page was removed once police were alerted to it.

Officers launched an investigation as selling any part of a dead sperm whale is illegal and anyone trying to trade would be liable to prosecution.

'Following enquiries made, police can confirm that it is likely at this time that no further action will be taken against a juvenile. Enquiries continue into other reports of the theft and sale of whale remains linked to the sperm whale washed up on the beach at Old Hunstanton,' said a police spokesman.

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Visitors planning on making a trip to Old Hunstanton to see the dead whale have been warned not to touch it.

The Health Protection Agency and Food Standards Agency issued a joint statement which also warns watersport participants to stay away.

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'Watersports enthusiasts, including bathers, should be aware that water quality could be affected and if you become unwell after using the water please seek medical advice,' it added.

The agencies have also said that shellfish collected in the area of the carcass should not be eaten.

West Norfolk Council is said to be monitoring the situation and the body of the whale is likely to be removed next week by a licensed contractor. The beach will be closed while the removal takes place.

The lower jaw of the whale, which washed-up at Old Hunstanton on Christmas Eve, was removed within hours.

The huge body of the whale has become a ghoulish tourist attraction and thousands of people have travelled to the Norfolk coast resort to have a look. But sperm whales are protected under the International Whaling Commission and trading in their teeth, which are ivory, is also banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: 'Any whales found should not be taken or disposed of without the authority of the local council and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

'Globally the UK champions the protection of whales. We fully support the continuing ban on harvesting, in place under the International Whaling Commission, and on trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.'

The page's author has been condemned by several people –with comments ranging from 'disgusting' to 'sick' placed under the advert.

Sperm whales are a threatened species and under CITES regulations removing teeth or trading in them is against the law. The whale is believed to have died some time ago and is decomposing on the beach from where it will probably have to be removed in the next few days.

Scientists from the Zoological Society have already taken samples from the animal.

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