Campaigners fighting for sea defences at erosion-hit Hemsby have said their battle is about to take its 'next step' when they deliver a petition to the prime minister. 

The appeal calling on the government to protect homes from being lost to the sea has received almost 20,000 signatures - with more than 10,000 people signing online and another 8,000 putting their names to a paper version.

The milestone means the petition will be hand-delivered to Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street before the end of this month.

It is asking the government to take urgent action to install sea defences in Hemsby.

READ MORE: Sea defence pledge as MP voices support for coastal erosion campaigners

"If nothing is done then this will accelerate and more damage will be done. The mental health impact on those who have lost everything is immeasurable," the petition states. 

Ian Brennan, treasurer of campaign group Save Hemsby Coastline (SHC) who organised the petition, said: "Only 3,000 people live in Hemsby, but almost 20,000 people have signed the petition. This shows the value of the place.

"I'm very proud of people who are willing to stand up and put their name to this.

"This is the next step in a ten-year battle," he said.

According to Mr Brennan, the problem is "too big" for Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the estimated £15m for funding a rock berm "would cost more than their entire budget".

The campaigners are asking the government to change their criteria on how they decide to grant money for sea defences.

They are saying the conditions are "fundamentally flawed" and the Environment Agency should take into account the money - an estimated £80m - which Hemsby brings into the economy every year through tourism.

The petition will be handed over by members of SHC as well as Hemsby Lifeboat crew.

"We are getting desperate. The situation is only getting worse. It will continue getting worse until something is done," Mr Brennan said.

"It's sad that all the effort for the last 10 to 11 years still hasn't borne fruit."