Six foot shark washes up dead on Lepe beach hours after being saved by Southampton mum

Credit: Hampshire and IOW News

UPDATE: Rare shark's head cut off and taken by trophy hunters.

An 'extremely rare' 6ft shark has washed up on the beach at Lepe in Hampshire, following several sightings in the Solent.

The animal, identified by marine biologists as a smalltooth sand tiger shark, was first spotted in distress in the Solent on Friday afternoon.

The shark was 6ft long and 3ft wide Credit: Hampshire and IOW News

Mum-of-two Alisha Openshaw from Beaulieu reported wading into the sea to help push the shark into deeper water after finding it struggling.

"Just your standard Friday afternoon at the beach!" she wrote.

But sadly, the body of the shark was found on Lepe beach the following morning, not far from where Thor the Walrus famously appeared at Calshot beach in December.

Thor posing for the cameras in December

The shark was a long way from its natural home.

The species is normally found in the eastern Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

Shark Biologist Martin Taylor said this was a unique discovery in UK waters.

He said: "It's important to determine how it has got here with a thorough examination and studying the specimen in greater detail.

"It's a very rare demersal shark species with little known about the biology of this shark that I have not seen records of being found in the UK.

"It could be both a very first sighting and discovery."

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