Body of huge whale is found on West Sussex beach

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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

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THE body of a three-ton whale has washed up on a West Sussex beach.

The 15ft long minke was discovered dead at Selsey.

Marine experts think the whale may have been dead at sea for at least a week before it washed up.

It had been decapitated while at sea but it is not known whether this happened after death.

Officers from Chichester District Council cleaned the beach to make sure it is safe for beach users.

A microbiologist from British Divers Marine Life Rescue took measurements and other statistical data about the whale.

The Natural History Museum in London was made aware of the death. The carcass was disposed of yesterday.

Adult minke whales can grow over 30ft, live for up to 60 years and weigh up to 14 tons.

Minke whales tend to be solitary, although they are sometimes seen in pairs or small groups of four or six. They feed mainly on krill, or small schooling fish such as cod or herring.

A northern bottlenose whale beached itself on Hayling Island three years ago, but whales are extremely uncommon on the south coast.