COASTGUARDS have issued a stark warning to visitors to the beach and foreshore after an unfired distress flare was found on Blyth beach.
The flare was found on Friday evening just a few hours after hundreds of people had left the beach after enjoying an afternoon in the sun.
“We would rather answer calls with happy ending than to deal with one that has a tragic outcome.”
“These flares are very dangerous items,” said Humber Coastguard Marine Rescue co-ordination centre deputy watch manager Ian Born.
“If they are mishandled they can quite easily go off causing a horrendous accident, if they have been in the water or lying around just picking them up can cause them to ignite.”
The item had been spotted by a dog walker and the Blyth coastguard rescue team were quickly on the scene.
Coastguard Chris Oats, from Blyth, donned specialist protective equipment to identify and isolate the flare and put it into a special container.
Mr Born added: “We would encourage anyone seeing anything suspicious on the beach to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard,” he said.
“Do not touch to object, just tell us where you are and what you can see and we will dispatch specially trained personnel to deal with it.”