WATCH: Plastic bag blowing across beach causes 'seal stampede'

A bag for life blowing across Waxham beach caused a seal stampede, with more than a hundred seals charging into the sea

A bag for life blowing across Waxham beach caused a seal stampede, with more than a hundred seals charging into the sea - Credit: Friends of Horsey Seals

A shopping bag blowing across a Norfolk beach caused a "stampede" that put more than hundred seals in danger of being crushed.

The large group of terrified animals panicked and charged into the sea at Waxham beach on Sunday, July 17.

Animal welfare charity Friends of Horsey Seals has issued an urgent appeal following the incident, calling for people not to leave rubbish on the beach.

Video footage captured the moment the group of seals raced into the sea, as the shopping bag tumbles along the shoreline in the breeze.

Sally Butler (L) alongside partner Julie Sissons, of the Friends of Horsey Seals

Sally Butler (L) alongside partner Julie Sissons (R), of the Friends of Horsey Seals - Credit: Friends of Horsey Seals

Sally Butler, who is part of the charity's rescue team, said: "The incident is a stark reminder for visitors not to leave any rubbish on the beach.

"A plastic bag may seem harmless but it shows the danger litter poses as the seals could have been crushed or injured in the stampede, particularly pups.

"At this time many of the common seals, or harbour seals, are heavily pregnant or have just given birth.

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"When seals are scared like this it can cause mothers to abandon their pups or to abort their pregnancy."

The incident comes just before the start of the summer school holidays when thousands of visitors are expected to head to Norfolk's beaches.

An abandoned common seal pup rescued by Friends of Horsey Seals last week

An abandoned common seal pup rescued by Friends of Horsey Seals last week - Credit: Friends of Horsey Seals

Ms Butler added: "In this area, we have found five to six pups in the last two weeks that have been abandoned and have had to be taken to the RSPCA.

"Soon we will be inundated with visitors to the coast and people need to remember to keep their distance from the seals.

"It is also important to not leave rubbish and to make sure items like shopping bags are secured.

"As well as bags blowing in the wind scaring seals, they can also get bag handles caught around their neck, causing a lot of pain and suffering."

Last week a seal pup was found abandoned by its mother on Waxham beach after reports of beach visitors scaring its mother into the sea.

The pup was later found starving, trying to suckle on a rock.

It was monitored for 24 hours while volunteers waited to see if its mother would return.

When the mother did not return, the pup was taken to East Winch RSPCA Wildlife Centre.