A WHALE weighing up to 35 tonnes was found dead off a Northumberland beach yesterday.
The adult male sperm whale, measuring 30ft (10 metres) in length, was discovered on rocks at Collith Hole, north of Beadnell.
The animal was first seen at around 8.45am by a dog walker, who claimed it was alive, and Humber coastguard dispatched its Seahouses branch to investigate.
Staff from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), Northumber- land County Council and the Environment Agency were then called out. The area was cordoned off, but it was discovered the whale was dead. Estimates of when it had perished varied from within the last two weeks to Sunday night, with the BDMLR saying it had not been dead long and could have come ashore overnight and died.
A vet was due to visit to see if an autopsy was possible. Sperm whales are normally found off the North West coast where they feed on squid.
It is thought the dead whale mistakenly entered North Sea waters, and with no squid to feed on died of starvation.
Richard Ilderton, of the BDMLR, said: “It is not very common at all, this animal should not be in this sea.
“It is a deep-diving animal so it is more suited to the Atlantic.”
The council is responsible for the disposal of the carcase but by yesterday afternoon had yet to receive the go-ahead to begin the removal process.
Due to the size of the whale, it will probably have to be cut up and removed in sections and it is thought that could take several days.