SCORES of dead crabs and lobsters continue to litter Hartlepool beach as investigations in the cause continue.

This striking picture taken at Seaton Sands Beach, Seaton Carew, shows the continuing extent of the devastation to crustaceans after the phenomena was first spotted in early October.

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Visitors to the beach in recent weeks have been shocked at the piles of dead crustaceans that have washed up on the beach, but so far the reason behind it remains a mystery.

Former Redcar MP Anna Turley has tweeted her dismay over the issue, saying: "What is going on? This is getting apocalyptic."

Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar says he has raised the situation with Ministers and thanked the agencies for their investigations into the problem.

He said: "(It's) deeply worrying that this seems to be continuing on our coastline.

"I have raised it with Ministers and will continue to, until cause is identified."

The Environment Agency is working with partners to investigate the problem, with water samples, sediment, mussel and crab being sent to their labs for analysis.

This should help determine whether a pollution incident could have contributed to the deaths of the sea creatures which are washing up in the Tees Estuary area and neighbouring beaches.

The Agency is working with its partners at CEFAS the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Agriculture (CEFAS) and the North Eastern Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority on the (NEIFCA).

Experts have warned that the impact isn't confined to the crustaceons themselves as their loss could affect other species that rely on them as a food source and disrupt their wider role in the marine ecosystem.

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