A seal died “a prolonged, tortured death” after getting caught in marine pollution off the coast of Cornwall.

The seal was found washed ashore at Trebarwith Strand, near Boscastle, on Monday (May 27) having been spotted trapped in litter and ‘ghost’ fishing gear two weeks earlier.

The animal was entangled in 35kg of pollution and would have been unable to dive or swim, according to experts.

Experts described the seal's wounds as Credit: British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine, who inspected the seal, said it was clear it had endured an horrific death.

This animal suffered a prolonged, tortured death, there is no question of that. This is one of the worst cases of entanglement we have seen anywhere in the world due to the extreme nature of his injuries. The material that was taken off him weighed 35kg - he wouldn't have been able to swim or dive. >

Michelle Robinson-Clement, British Divers Marine Life Rescue

A post-mortem examination found the heavy load of net had made a large wound between the seal’s head and shoulders.

This is probably the most serious net-related injury I have seen in 27 years of working with seals and the level of suffering this animal must have gone through is truly appalling.

James Barnett, Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme