Page last updated at 14:56 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Decapitated juvenile seals found on Tyneside beach

Grey seals (generic)
The seals were found by a passer-by

A group of grey seals have been found beheaded on a beach at a Tyneside seaside resort.

The RSPCA said five seals, three of which were decapitated, were found dead at Whitley Bay on Monday morning.

A spokesman said all of the seals were juveniles, with the eldest thought to have been no more than a year old and the youngest just a few weeks.

One of the seals had been tagged as part of a study by the Sea Mammal Research Unit in St Andrews, Fife.

RSPCA acting chief inspector Mark Gent said: "This was a very upsetting thing to come across and has caused a lot of distress to the person who found them.

"These were very young animals, one of them was what is often described as a white coat, and was just a few weeks old.

"Clearly they have not died of natural causes and we are very concerned.

"We want to hear from anyone who knows anything that might help us in our investigation as soon as possible."

Seals are protected under UK legislation.

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