West Norfolk Council hit with £12,795 bill for disposing of sperm whale from Hunstanton beach

The dead sperm whale on the beach at Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt

The dead sperm whale on the beach at Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A Norfolk council has been hit with a bill for nearly £13,000 after it had to dispose of a whale carcass from Hunstanton beach last month.

The dead sperm whale on the beach at Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt

The dead sperm whale on the beach at Hunstanton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A spokesman for West Norfolk Council said the sum of £12,795 covered the costs of removing and incinerating the body of a sperm whale that was washed ashore last month.

The whale attracted hundreds of visitors, after it was beached on rocks below Hunstanton cliffs on Friday, January 22. It died later that night, despite attempts to save it.

About a week later, it was unceremoniously loaded into skip lorries, before being taken away to an out-of-county licensed animal incineration facility.

A borough council spokesman said: 'The cost of removal of the whale was £12,795 and we are seeking support from appropriate agencies to meet this cost.'

The whale remains are finally removed from Hunstanton beach. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The whale remains are finally removed from Hunstanton beach. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The whale was one of five which washed up on the east coast that weekend.

Three whales washed up on the other side of The Wash at Skegness, along with a fourth whale which washed up on a firing range at Wainfleet in Lincolnshire. They were all taken to landfill.

The sperm whales were from a pod, which was first seen in shallow waters on the Norfolk side of the Wash on January 22. The creatures, which were all males, were among about 29 whales to die in the southern North Sea in a few weeks.

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Dr Peter Evans, director of the Seawatch Foundation, said they had probably swam south through the North Sea looking for squid to eat, but became disorientated when they found themselves in the shallower water in Norfolk.

A few weeks after the first stranding, a second whale washed ashore on a section of Old Hunstanton beach owned by the Le Strange Estate, a mile north of the Le Strange Arms.

That 45ft male sperm whale died after it failed to swim away on the high tide, and was later removed from the beach.

Responsibility for removing that whale rested with the Le Strange estate, and it's not known how much it cost them to dispose of it.

Have you got a story for the EDP? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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