Deeping riverbank surprise as seal swims inland

Mel Evans took this photos of a seal in the River Welland in Deeping St James. EMN-150121-140355001
Mel Evans took this photos of a seal in the River Welland in Deeping St James. EMN-150121-140355001
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A seal, which is normally found living off the east coast 27 miles away, was spotted at Low Locks, on the River Welland in Deeping St James.

After the first sighting last week, a number of residents from the Deepings ventured out to the river to try and get a rare sighting of the seal fishing for food.

Local photographer Kerry Unwin said she heard about the seal on Facebook and went out on Tuesday morning, with her son, to try to catch a glimpse of it.

She said: “As far as I know a seal has never come this far inland along the River Welland. It’s really caught the imagination of people locally and there seems to be a lot more people walking in the area as a result.”

Resident James Clayton also managed to spot the seal.

He said: “I’d heard there was a sighting on Facebook so I decided to go for a run along the river to see if I could see it.

“I saw it straight away near the lock, it was so inquisitive coming right up to the bank. I had to run and get a camera as my phone battery had died. I’m glad I did.”

Freelance photographer Mel Evans who lives just around the corner from Low Locks spent Tuesday afternoon waiting for the seal in an attempt to get a photograph.

She said: “I thought it would make a great photo, it’s not something you see very often. It’s all very surreal really, you don’t expect a seal to be this far out.

Although Mel’s luck was out during the afternoon, when she popped back in the early evening she finally spotted the seal.

She said: “It came up really close to me, it’s a pretty confident seal - but it would have to be to come up all this way in the first place.”

The RSPCA confirmed sightings of the seal and RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs has been out on two occasions to check up on its wellbeing.

He said: “It’s not rare for seals to come inland on tidal rivers. They’ve been known to come as far inland as Lincoln and Northampton over the years and have been regulars at Wansford.”

Insp Stubbs said he wanted to reassure the public that there are no health issues with the seal being in the river, and the seal itself is “very healthy”.

The river has a direct link to the main Welland and Justin hopes that in its own time the seal will swim back to its original home when it’s ready to go.

Insp Stubbs added: “ I would urge the public not to approach seals as they can stand their ground and have a particularly nasty bite.

“I would ask dog walkers to keep close control of their dogs if they should see the seal.”

If you see the seal in the next few days and believe it has been injured please call the RSPCA on 0300 123 4999.

Have you been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the seal? Let us know and send us your photos to smeditor@stamfordmercury.co.uk.