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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Teenager prompts shark hunt
Richard Peirce
Richard Peirce plans to use a shark cage to photograph the creature
Four men are setting sail on a two-week expedition to find a great white shark spotted in South West waters.

Experts are leaving Padstow in Cornwall and plan to photograph the creature underwater using a shark cage.

The voyage was triggered after reports from an amateur marine biologist, on holiday from Birmingham, who said she saw the shark off the Devon coast.

The nearest confirmed sighting of a great white to the South West coast has been 200 miles away in the Bay of Biscay.

Any shark out there will come looking for the scent and they find your boat
Richard Peirce
Chaynee Hodgetts, 15, said she spotted the creature - made infamous by the Hollywood blockbuster Jaws - through her binoculars off the north Devon coast.

The detail in her description was so accurate, experts have taken the sighting seriously.

On Wednesday, experts are setting sail on a two-week mission to find the predator.

Shark conservationist Richard Peirce, 55, from Bude in north Cornwall, plans to photograph the creature from underwater using a shark cage.

Richard Peirce
Richard Peirce plans to use a shark cage to photograph the creature
But first he has to attract it.

He said: "A traditional method which is used to attract sharks is a 'chum'.

"It's a system which, essentially, is the laying in the water of a scent trail. Any shark out there will detect it and come looking for the scent."

A great white was reported off the coast near Padstow in Cornwall by a group of experienced fishermen in August 1999.

And there have been a number of other unconfirmed sightings around the South West coast since.

If the team does find the shark, they will attempt to tag it.

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