AN amateur photographer was stunned to come across what looked like a dolphin washed up on the beach.
Peter Greig, 29, discovered it near the North Gare, on Seaton Carew beach, as he spent the afternoon taking photographs.
It caught Peter’s eye as he walked along the beach, but at first he just thought it was a pile of rubbish.
Yet as he got closer he soon realised it was a mammal which had been washed up after appearing to have sustained some nasty injuries.
At first Peter, from Seaton Carew, thought it was a dolphin but after doing some research and speaking to friends he found out it was a porpoise.
The porpoise had wounds to both sides of its head and Peter believes it had been washed up in the 24hours leading up to his discovery on Sunday afternoon.
Peter, who works as a door-to-door salesman, said: “Apparently they are quite common in our waters. I spend quite a lot of time photographing the North-East coast and I have never seen one until now.
“I have seen plenty of seals but never a porpoise.”
Peter, who is a member of Hartlepool Photographic and Digital Group, added: “It was quite a surprise.
“It’s not something you expect to come across when you are walking along the beach.
“It would be nice to know what had happened to the porpoise.
“It looks like it has suffered some quite bad injuries and the birds had been having a peck at it as well.”
Hartlepool Borough Council was not aware of the discovery on the beach,.
A spokesman said in circumstances like this their officers take the corpse to the Pet Crematorium, in Witton Gilbert, near Durham City.
Anyone who wants to report such discoveries should call the council on (01429) 523333.