Warning issued after reports of people feeding seals from boats at Brixham Harbour in Devon

Animal experts are concerned the creatures could become reliant on or overfamiliar with humans Credit: RSPCA

People in Devon are being asked to not feed seals after reports that the animals are being fed from boats.

Animal experts warn this could risk seals becoming reliant on or overfamiliar with humans.

It comes as one popular seal, known as Spearmint, was taken from her home near Plymouth after beach-goers "tried to sit on her" in April.

Before the rescue, she had become vulnerable to antisocial behaviour, physical harm and dog attacks after people had been hand-feeding her.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: "We have received reports of seals being fed from boats within Brixham Harbour.

"Feeding wild seals creates really big problems for seals and humans. Seals are quick learners and just one feed can develop habituated behaviour for life.

"In their minds, food becomes linked with people and boats. This reduces their natural fear of humans and puts them at greater risk from humans and boats.

"The issue has been raised with the Harbour Master."

More information can be found on the Seal Project website.