COASTGUARD staff were asked last night to remove the teeth and lower jawbone of a washed up whale after it was targeted by trophy- hunters.
The 10-metre-long male sperm whale was discovered just off a beach near Beadnell, Northumberland early on Monday morning.
The Journal has been told by coastguards they are aware local people and others from outside Northumberland hope to get a tooth from the whale as a souvenir or to sell it.
Three men from County Durham travelled to the beach at around 3am yesterday seemingly intent on removing teeth.
They were, however, stopped by a cordon being manned by a coastguard team from Seahouses, set up because the carcass is property of the Crown and anything removed from it is regarded as theft.
The cordon is also in place because anyone trying to get near the carcass in its current location on rocks might slip and injure themselves, and as the disintegrating corpse poses a health risk. The coastguard last night advised anyone intent on trophy hunting whale’s teeth are not valuable and also that their sale is illegal.
It was nevertheless planned to remove the teeth and lower jawbone to deter any other trophy-hunters.
An autopsy was carried out on the whale at 5am yesterday.
It revealed the creature was a juvenile, not mature as first thought, and had probably been alive when it beached, dying shortly after.
Cause of death was confirmed as starvation.
Meanwhile, the whale should be removed “over the coming days,” a council spokeswoman said.