BEACHGOERS have been warned to avoid a the carcass of a 40ft fin whale washed up on a busy beach due to the risk of infection.

The whale washed up off Holland-on-Sea this morning, prompting shock and sadness from residents. 

Read more>>> WATCH: 40ft fin whale washes up dead on beach in north Essex

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) have been helping at the scene.

A spokesman said: "We have had a number of calls since fairly early this morning regarding a dead whale that has sadly washed up near Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

"The animal was already dead when found, BDMLR Medics attended only to gather photographs and other details on its condition that will be passed to our colleagues at the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme- UK strandings.

"We believe it is a fin whale and is approximately 40ft long, which is actually rather small for this species as they can grow to over 70ft, and therefore this animal is a juvenile.

"Removal of the carcass is the responsibility of the beach owner.

"In the meantime we strongly advise people avoid going near it as there is a risk of contracting an infection from contact with its bodily fluids or the body itself."

Tendring Council is leading on he clearance operation and says work will continue tomorrow to establish the "quickest and best" way to remove the animal's body.

A spokesman said: “We have been working with multi-agency partners and experts to establish the quickest and best way to safely remove the whale carcass.

“A cordon is in place around the whale. Initially the beach had been closed off as far down as Jaywick Sands, as a precaution.

"This cordon has now been significantly reduced, and we hope to reduce the cordon further once it is safe to do so.

“We would ask all beach-goers to respect the cordon while the clearance work is carried out.

"We understand people may be interested and want to see the whale for themselves or watch the clearance work – we would remind people to observe social distancing and to avoid crowded areas as we are still in the Covid-19 pandemic.

“After seeking expert advice ‘although there are no specific hazards identified, the public are asked to respect the cordon until the whale is removed.

“Contractors will be on site tomorrow and we are advised the whale should be removed by the end of the day. The beach will also be cleansed as part of the clean-up operation.”

Read more >>> Everything we know as 40ft whale washes up on north Essex beach