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Last Updated: Friday, 24 September, 2004, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Sightseekers flock to dead whale
Fin whale
The whale weighs more than 30 tonnes

Police have been warning sightseers keen to glimpse a dead fin whale washed up on a Welsh beach to stay away.

Traffic has begun to build up in the tiny hamlet of St Brides, West Usk, and visitors have hampered coastguards' efforts to recover the carcass.

The body of the 60ft whale will be cut up and taken away for incineration.

Hundreds of people have visited the mudflats to see the body.

The whale - the second largest animal in the world, after the blue whale - will be moved further up the beach on Saturday to a more accessible site before disposal.

Coastguards were planning to stay on the beach overnight to prevent people getting too close.

There were concerns after children were seen swimming out to the mammal and jumping off its body.

Sophia Exelby, Receiver of Wreck - the official responsible for disposing with washed-up items - has been working with Newport Council to decide how best to dispose of the whale.

A very rare event
Frank Sheahan, lighthouse owner
Work will start at 0600 BST on Saturday, when the whale will be moved further up the mudflats.

Contractors will cut up the carcass before it is put on to trucks and then taken away for incineration.

The operation is not expected to be finished until late morning.

Some roads will be closed while the operation is carried out, but there will be places where people can watch.

Officials have warned of a possible health risk because of an open wound on the whale's body.

Local bed and breakfast and lighthouse owner Frank Sheahan, who was one of the first on the scene, said the disposal of the whale would be sad, but he could understand why so many people wanted to see "a very rare event".

Disposal ideas discussed included burying the body at the spot where it was washed up, or using a barge or tug to pull it out to deeper water before taking it away.

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