Sperm whales taken from Skegness beach to landfill

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionEach whale took about three hours to remove

The carcasses of three sperm whales washed up on the east coast have been taken to landfill sites in an overnight operation.

The whales were found on the Lincolnshire coast over the weekend - two at Gibraltar Point and another in nearby Skegness.

Jan Smith, who led a team of 14 workers to remove the 30-tonne animals, said it had gone more smoothly than expected.

The work took place at night to keep disturbance to a minimum, he said.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Workmen loaded the whales on to lorries for removal from the beach
Image copyright PA
Image caption People from nearby towns came out to see the overnight operation, with some describing the smell as "horrendous"
Image caption All three whales have been transported to a landfill site in Sheffield where they will be buried
Image caption The mammals are believed to be part of the same pod as others found in Wainfleet and Hunstanton, Norfolk
Image copyright PA
Image caption The whales were temporarily buried ahead of their removal to stop the tide moving them
Image caption The site was cleaned to remove any remnants of the whales

Mr Smith said he expected the "delicate operation" to take up to eight hours, but all were removed by 01:30 GMT. The process started just after 20:00 in Skegness.

"It's gone very well, really," he said.

"The last one where the flaps had been cut open for the autopsy was hard work.

"You can't really plan what you are going to do because you don't know if they are likely to blow up or something. All that you can do is treat them with the utmost respect."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionFootage shows what is thought to be the two whales that later washed up near Skegness

The whales were positioned on to three low-loaders and taken away. They will be buried in a landfill site in Sheffield.

The public were warned to keep their distance while the work took place because of safety concerns.

The warning came after one of the whales "decompressed rather spectacularly" while scientists were carrying out tests on it.

Hundreds of people have turned out to see the mammals since they were discovered.

Footage has emerged showing what could be two of the whales swimming in the North Sea on Saturday.

Two other whales washed up on the east coast.

One is on the site of a former bombing range near Wainfleet in Lincolnshire, while another was found in Norfolk on Friday.

Image copyright Kurnia Aerial Photography
Image caption The first two whales were found by a nature reserve warden who told HM Coastguard

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites