Police warn against taking 'trophies' from dead whales washed up in Skegness

People have been warned not to take "trophies" from five dead whales washed up in Lincolnshire after this picture appeared on social media appearing to show a man cutting teeth from one of the animals.

Police warned people to stay away from the dead whales and said they have been made aware of the photograph.

The Skegness Standard reported the man who had been pictured had contacted them to say he did not remove anything from the animal.

It comes after the snap sparked outrage after it was posted online.

"No dignity offered even after death" one person wrote on Twitter, while others called on social media users to "name n shame" the unknown man, who can be seen leaning into the mouth of the giant mammal.

Sperm whales are protected under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.

The regulations state that being in possession of any part of the animal, alive or dead, or selling or exchanging any such part, is an offence punishable by six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

The bodies of two whales on a beach in Skegness were moved by bulldozers. Credit: ITV News

Chief Inspector Jim Tyner, from Lincolnshire Police, said: “It is not surprising that the sad deaths of these animals has generated considerable fascination and large numbers of people have been coming to Skegness to look at them.

"However, people need to be aware that touching the creatures is a risk to health and taking ‘trophies’ is against the law.

"Anyone removing teeth or other parts of the whales may be committing a serious offence, the penalty for which can be quite significant."

The sperm whales are believed to have been from the same pod. Credit: ITV News

Meanwhile the bodies of the whales were temporarily buried today because of fears that they could be washed back out to sea by the rising tide.

The mammals were dragged up the beach by bulldozers and lined up together before being covered in sand.

The bodies will be permanently removed on Thursday.