Published: 14:47, 23 April 2019
| Updated: 17:42, 23 April 2019
Police are investigating after a man reportedly used a meat cleaver to cut up a porpoise found washed up dead on a beach.
The dead porpoise was found on the sand in Margate near the Winter Gardens on Easter Sunday.
The suspect allegedly became abusive when he was challenged by people sitting on the beach telling him to stop.
Coastguard and wildlife teams were called at around 11.15am to recover the mammal from the beach after walkers discovered the corpse.
But despite Thanet District Council being informed to remove the body, a man was seen at around 8.30pm trying to chop up the carcass while it was still on the beach.
Police were called to the seafront after receiving a call from members of the public who confronted the man.
Kent Police confirmed officers are investigating and are making inquiries about who the man is by scouring CCTV in the area.
A spokesman said: "Police were called to the seafront in Margate at 8.25pm on Sunday, April 21, following a report that a man was cutting up the carcass of a dead porpoise with a meat cleaver.
"When asked by a passer-by to stop, it is said he was abusive.
"Officers attended and searched the area but the man had left. Inquiries are ongoing to see if the incident was captured on CCTV."
Before removal of the porpoise was arranged, measurements were taken and information gathered to be sent to the Natural History Museum.
The institution records the death of around 300 porpoise deaths a year, and tries to ascertain the cause, as well as monitoring levels of disease, toxins and pollutants and parasites in the water.
Harbour porpoises are fairly common in UK waters and usually stay close to coastal areas and river estuaries.
However, they do face threats from water pollution including litter and plastic, noise from shipping which can disorientate them, and fishing nets which they can become entangled in.
More by this authorMatt Leclere