Norfolk

Plastic toys: Group buys all flying rings to save seals

Boy lying on plastic ring toys Image copyright Gorleston Beach Clean
Image caption Gorleston Community Beach Clean bought 255 plastic frisbee-style rings from two shops

A community group has bought all the plastic ring toys in a seaside town in a bid to save seals from injury.

A number of the mammals along the Norfolk coast have been injured after getting their necks stuck in discarded toys.

Members of Gorleston Community Beach Clean spoke to shopkeepers who agreed to stop selling them to customers.

The group bought all 255 frisbee-type rings from a shop in the town and another in nearby Hemsby.

Organiser Melanie Ruse said when she first saw pictures of seals with their heads stuck through the toys "it broke my heart".

"They are so dangerous to seals and it's shocking to see the damage they do when caught round a seal's neck," she said.

Image copyright Friends of Horsey Seals
Image caption This seal was treated at a wildlife hospital after being found on a Norfolk beach

Her group runs litter-picking events on the beach, but has now gone one further in its bid to save seals from potential injury.

She spoke to the owners of the only shop in Gorleston that sells the toys - the Yacht Shop - and they agreed they would not purchase any more.

To ensure the remaining stock was not used on beaches, Mrs Ruse bought every ring in the shop - and at another owned by the same couple - at a discounted price of £100 which was funded through a grant.

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The shops' owner Jane Johnson said: "We were happy to help. This means we can replace the stock with the standard solid frisbees which are not a danger to wildlife in the same way."

Mrs Ruse is donating the ring toys to community groups including one which provides activities for people with learning disabilities, and another which runs a circus skills course.

"This is on the understanding that they are not to be given out or sold individually as we don't want them back at the beach," she said.

"They are strictly for inland use only."

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