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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Orange beach slime identified
A Shepway Council worker hands out warning leaflets on the beach
Warning leaflets were handed out to people on the beach

A mystery orange and pink slime which smothered the Kent coast has been identified as an algae.

Sunbathers had been warned to stay away from beaches near Folkestone after they were covered in the mystery substance.

But later officials said the slime was a naturally occurring algae although it urged people to continue to stay away because it could cause irritation especially to pets.

Shepway Council was first alerted to the mess at about 1100 BST when it was seen by the coastguard about half a mile off shore.

No residue

By about 1200 BST the substance was coming ashore between Seabrook and Hythe Imperial Hotel.

A spokesman for the council told the BBC that at about 1615 BST the mystery slime was last spotted between Folkestone and Dover in area called the Warren.

He said: "It appears to have covered quite a length of the coast line.

"It is difficult to get an actual estimate of whether it is one long slick or whether it is patches of a substance."

He said although the goo was washing up on the beaches it was not leaving any obvious residue.

The council together with the Environment Agency carried out tests on the slime to establish what it was.

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