Seals 'dangerously harassed' by jet skiers while resting close to shoreline in Norfolk, volunteers say

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Two jet skiers have been criticised for "harassing" a group of seals that were trying to keep warm close to the shoreline.

Volunteer group Friends of Horsey Seals said they received reports of the vehicles hurtling past around 200 grey seals in Norfolk.

The animals, who were resting near Horsey Beach, were spooked by the incident, causing many of them to stampede into the water.

Around 20 minutes later, the jet skis returned and went through a group of seals in the water, volunteers said.

A couple walking along the beach witnessed the event and sent photographs to the organisation.

During this time of year, grey seals come ashore to moult their old worn-out coats and grow new ones, the Friends of Horsey Seals explained.

While this takes place, it is "vitally important" that they keep warm, which they do by slowing down their metabolism and staying out of the sea.

Forcing them into the sea can be "damaging to their overall health and impact their long-term chances of survival", a member of the group's rescue team, Sally Butler said.

Read more: Cat rescued after getting stuck on ledge and falling into River Bure

Chairman Peter Ansell added: "It is common sense that there should be a minimum distance that jet skiers can come to any beach not only to protect wildlife but also swimmers, especially children.

​​​​​​"Harassing the seals in this way was a dangerous and unacceptable thing to do".

In the next few weeks, the common seal's pupping season begins, which will see many heavily pregnant seals come ashore.

The spectacle is a population attraction for tourists, but people are advised not to disturb the and it risks the animals aborting their pups.

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