An investigation is under way after hundreds of dead crabs washed up on a beach in Hartlepool.
Residents and visitors were left shocked after the dead crustaceans began to appear at Seaton Carew beach, which lies along the Tees Bay, earlier this month.
The Environment Agency has confirmed samples have been taken from the crabs, water and sediment for laboratory analysis to see if pollution was the cause.
The lab analysis will also be used to test the dead crabs for disease.
Dog walkers are now being warned to stay off neighbouring beaches along the Tees Estuary which have also been been affected.
An investigation is under way by the Environment Agency after hundreds of dead crabs washed up on a beach in Hartlepool
Local resident Carl Clyne, 42, said he first spotted the scores of dead crabs while walking his dog along Seaton Carew beach on October 6.
He told the Hartlepool Mail: ‘There were dead crabs in every rock pool and quite a lot of them along the water line among the sea weed.
‘I walk down there quite a lot, I’ve never seen that before.’
Following the scenes former Redcar MP Anna Turley took to Twitter to write: ‘What is going on? This is getting apocalyptic.’
Former Redcar MP Anna Turley took to Twitter to say that the scenes were ‘getting apocalyptic’
One local resident said they were placing the live crabs and lobsters they had spotted back into the sea while another described the scenes as ‘heartbreaking’
Meanwhile Conservative MP Jacob Young told the Northern Echo: ‘(It’s) deeply worrying that this seems to be continuing on our coastline.
‘I have raised it with Ministers and will continue to, until cause is identified.’
A Environment Agency spokesman said: ‘Samples of water, sediment, mussel and crab have been collected and are being sent to our labs for analysis, to consider whether a pollution incident could have contributed to the deaths of the animals.’
Anyone who sees pollution affecting wildlife is asked to call the Environment Agency on 0800 807060.
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