A humpback whale washed up on a North Sea beach appears to have been dead for some time.
Coastguards began to get reports of a beached whale on Blyth Beach, in Northumberland, on Friday.
The whale, thought to be about 11m (36ft) long, was already dead and the coastguard cordoned off an area around it as people watched from a distance, some taking photographs.
A Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokesman said: “At around 7.15am today, HM Coastguard received a report of a beached whale close to the shoreline at Blyth Beach, Northumberland.
“Blyth Coastguard Rescue Team were sent to assist and report details of the incident. The receiver of wreck has also been informed.”
Whale rescue experts said it was clear the animal had been dead long before it was washed up and it was already decomposing.
Northumberland County Council said it is organising the removal and disposal of the carcass.
A spokesman said: “Police have erected a cordon around it and we are putting signs warning people to stay away.
“Further signs will be put up on the prom to advise people in the area to keep their dogs on leads and ensure they stay away from the whale.
“Because of the partial decomposition there is an unpleasant smell and we urge people not to visit the area until it has been removed.”
There were reports another humpback whale was spotted dead off-shore last week close to Dunstanburgh Castle, about 30 miles up the coast from Blyth.
Dunstanburgh Castle was the site of another humpback whale beaching in September 2019.
Earlier this year a 10m (32ft) sperm whale was washed up dead on the north Norfolk coast, at Sheringham.
This was thought to be related to an incident on Christmas Eve when ten sperm whales died after becoming stranded between Withernsea and Tunstall in East Yorkshire.