FEARS are growing that a massive shark is lurking off the British coast after the mutilated body of dolphin was found washed up on a Cornish beach.
The bottom half of the dead dolphin was completely missing and what was left of its upper body appeared to be covered in bite marks from huge teeth. Locals fear the gruesome find on Harlyn Bay near Padstow, Cornwall, could signify a shark attack.
Rumours of a Great White shark stalking Britain have been rife for years and earlier this year fishermen from Devon claimed to have seen one of the killer species immortalised by the film Jaws off the South Coast.
One witness who came across the mutilated dolphin carcass said: “My initial thought when I saw it was a shark attack.
“You can see what looks like teeth marks and I just can’t think of anything else that could have done this.
“It is terrifying if true. The flesh wouldn’t have just rotted away like that.”
Pictures of the grim discovery were taken by Rob Stevenson from local community interest company Beach Guardian CIC.
He said: “We do regular beach cleans from Padstow to Porthcothan and people locally contact us if they find any ropes, nets etc.
“One of our volunteers was dog walking on Harlyn Bay when they saw it in the water and took a photo and sent it over so I went down for a look.
“The tide has now retreated so it’s sitting at the high tide mark.
“We want to make people aware there’s a dead dolphin on the beach, particularly dog walkers as a lot of inquisitive dogs will go over for a look.
“It’s a sad picture and terrible to see but we can’t really speculate as to how it died.”
Mr Stevenson said a piece of tape attached to the remains of the dolphin’s tail could be from a previous rescue attempt at another beach.
He said Beach Guardian CIC have recently received an increased number of calls due to the adverse weather.
He said: “The extreme weather has definitely been making things worse.
“We’ve had more nets and ropes reported and this is the second dead dolphin we’ve been told about in two weeks.”
Warmer sea temperatures are thought be attracting new species – including hammerhead sharks and great whites – from the Mediterranean and Africa.
Ashley Lane, who runs Ashley’s Fishing Trips from Paignton, South Devon, said: “Great white sharks are there now, I’m sure of it.
“I speak to a lot of fishermen who say they have seen them. Species like this swimming off the Devon coast would be a great thing and definitely good for my trade – people would love to see that.”
Dr Ken Collins, of Southampton University, previously an administrator of Britain’s shark-tagging project, said: “It’s likely we will be seeing more sharks spread from warmer regions such as the Mediterranean towards our waters over the next 30 years.”
My initial thought when I saw it was a shark attack