Action has finally been taken to deal with the carcass of a dead seal which has been lying at a St Andrews beauty spot for around five weeks.
The smell from the decomposing animal has been described as horrendous by locals who have spent the last month trying to get authorities to take it away.
Earlier this week Fife Coast and Countryside Trust said that the rotting remains would not be moved from the scenic Castle Sands beach and that the seal would be left to let “nature take its course”.
However, since then local councillor Brian Thomson has managed to convince the authorities to bury the seal in the sand to prevent any further harm coming to it or anyone visiting the area.
He said: “I was advised by Council officers that a decision had been taken to leave the carcass of the dead seal on the beach. However, given that the beach is so popular, particularly with children and dog walkers, I felt that - equally - there were potentially health and safety concerns associated with leaving the carcass on the beach.
“I therefore contacted officers and suggested the carcass of the seal be either rolled down the beach at low tide, making it more likely to be washed out to sea, or buried in the sand next to where it was lying. I was subsequently advised that a Council team had buried the dead seal in the sand.”
Mr Thomson added: “It’s unfortunate that this issue has taken so long to resolve, but I’m grateful for the quick response to my suggestions.”
Pat Anthony, who came across the seal when out with her young grandson during the holidays, said it was shocking that the authorities had not acted sooner amid serious concerns about what could happen should a child go near it.
“The smell was horrendous as the seal has been rotting for weeks. The tide hasn’t been up high enough to wash it out to sea, so goodness knows how long it would’ve taken if we’d gone down that route.”
Pat added: “The beach had been deserted as the smell was so bad. It’s not fair on the animal to be left lying like that and it’s certainly not fair to anyone visiting to have to put up with that smell.”
A statement issued to the Citizen on Tuesday said Fife Council and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust had decided that because of the location of the animal, vehicular access issues and health & safety concerns, it would allow nature to take its course.