Why are hundreds of crabs washing up dead on Teesside's beaches?

An investigation is underway to determine why so many dead crabs are washing up on Teesside's beaches.

Hundreds of crustaceans have been spotted at Seaton Carew, Redcar and further north in Seaham over the past week.

It is currently unclear why so many are meeting their demise, but the Environmental Agency have confirmed they are analysing samples for both pollution and disease.

The Marine Management Organisation have said they are not aware of any evidence of pollution.

Sea life pathologist at Teesside University Dr Jamie Bojko thinks a "singular event" is likely to be the cause.

But with the reasons still unclear, some residents are choosing to keep their dogs away from the shoreline.

Last month, ITV News Tyne Tees reported that hundreds of seabirds were being found dead on the shores of Northumberland.

There is no suggestion that the two phenomena are linked.

Marine disease PhD student Amy Burgess explains why understanding and remedying the crabs' decline is so important, given the role they play in our ecosystem.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said:

"We are working with partners at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and North Eastern Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority to investigate why hundreds of dead crabs have washed up along the shore in the Tees Estuary and neighbouring beaches.