Video and photo gallery: Second world war sea defences put into action at Hemsby beach as fight against coastal erosion continues

Giant concrete blocks left over from WWII are moved into position to help protect the coastline at Hemsby after dramatic...

Giant concrete blocks left over from WWII are moved into position to help protect the coastline at Hemsby after dramatic erosion. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Concrete blocks designed to stop an army invading Britain are now being used to combat erosion on an east Norfolk beach.

Giant concrete blocks left over from WWII are moved into position to help protect the coastline at H

Giant concrete blocks left over from WWII are moved into position to help protect the coastline at Hemsby after dramatic erosion. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The people of Hemsby, who are campaigning and raising funds for DIY coastal erosion defences, have been given permission to move the huge anti-tank defences in a bid to hold back the biting tide.

Last Friday, a man was forced to leave his home on the Marrams after stormy weather took huge chunks from the beach and damaged the already fragile dunes.

The anti-tank defences have been on Hemsby beach for 60 years, installed during the second world war when Norfolk's coastline was vulnerable to invasion.

After the war, the blocks were piled up near Hemsby gap and forgotten about.

But erosion has now taken so much sand away from the beach, the blocks and huge bundles of steel have been fully exposed.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has now given the Save Hemsby's Coastline group permission to move the blocks - each weighing at least 10 tonne, into lines in a bid to protect what remains of the seafront immediately left and right of the Hemsby lifeboat shed.

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Work is taking place this weekend.

The contractor moving these blocks has been provided by the Geoffrey Watling Trust, the charity which owns Hemsby beach.

The Trust has paid about £11,000 towards DIY defences, while the volunteer run Save Hemsby's Coastline has fundraised £18,000. It has been estimated that full sea defences at Hemsby would cost £8 million.

Residents and businesses want to raise enough money to build and install hundreds of concrete blocks along the bottom of the Marrams, hoping that protecting the dunes will in turn protect the beach.

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