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Thousands of sea creatures are continuing to wash up on sandy beaches in an incident worried local people have called 'the worst' they've ever seen.

Dead and alive crabs, lobsters and many other kinds of crustacean are lying on the beach between Marske and Saltburn in Teesside — in piles that are 'waist deep' in some cases.

They have also been washed up in Seaton Carew, and further north at Seaham.

The Environment Agency confirmed on Monday it has launched an investigation into the unusual occurences, which will consider whether a pollution incident is to blame.

Marske resident Sharon Bell, who walks the stretch of beach near her home every day, said the numbers of creatures have increased over the past two weeks.

She was out early on Monday morning photographing the sunrise with her husband Christopher. When the pair arrived at the beach they were horrified to find huge piles of dead and alive crabs and lobsters littered across it.

They spent the next four hours trying to return any live ones they could find back into the water.

"I have been along my usual walk from Marske to Saltburn and was utterly shocked and saddened to see in some parts, waist deep seaweed full of thousands of dead and alive crabs and lobsters, all kinds and species," said Mrs Bell, 48.

She has lived in the area for 21 years and, she says, has never seen anything like the scene there on Monday morning – even after a rough high tide or a storm.

"My husband and I have spent hours putting as many live ones as we could back in the sea, something is very, very wrong here. This has been building up for a couple of weeks, along our coast and no-one is doing anything about it."

Just over two weeks ago, TeessideLive reported dead crustaceans had been spotted washed up at Seaton Carew, Redcar and further North in Seaham. The Environment Agency launched an investigation – which is on going.

Residents have also taken to social media to voice their concerns after images of the scene of the beach were posted on Monday morning.

"This awful wildlife getting killed. This needs investigating. What is going on along north coast?" said one resident.

"This is awful someone must be held responsible, if it is killing our wildlife then it could kill humans as well," said another.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency told TeessideLive on Monday:

“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. We have also shared samples with CEFAS labs for disease analysis."

A phone number has been released for people to report any incidents of pollution they might see.

“If you are aware of pollution affecting wildlife, please report it to the Environment Agency on 0800 807060," added the EA spokesman.

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