Lincolnshire Police have confirmed that an investigation is underway after shocking pictures appearing to show a man removing the teeth from the carcass of a dead whale on Skegness Beach were revealed.
Huge crowds have gone to see the 45ft sperm whales found on the Lincolnshire coast, and marine biologists have been busy conducting autopsies on the carcasses.
Hundreds of pictures of the whales have been shared online, with one particular photograph allegedly showing a trophy hunter ripping the teeth out of one of the carcasses, drawing the most attention.
Sperm whales are a species protected under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.
The regulations state that being in possession of any part of the animal, alive or dead, or selling or exchanging any such part, is an offence punishable by six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
Force lead for rural crime, Chief Inspector Jim Tyner said: “It is not surprising that the sad deaths of these animals has generated considerable fascination and large numbers of people have been coming to Skegness to look at them.
“However, people need to be aware that touching the creatures is a risk to health and taking ‘trophies’ is against the law. Anyone removing teeth or other parts of the whales may be committing a serious offence, the penalty for which can be quite significant”.
Police added that they are aware of the photographs, which will form part of an ongoing investigation.
Anyone with further information on the picture should contact Lincolnshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 368 of January 23.