Work begins to clear Yorkshire beaches of mystery paraffin wax

Photograph of the paraffin wax by Staithes Coastguard
Photograph of the paraffin wax by Staithes Coastguard
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A clean up operation to remove lumps of paraffin wax from the Yorkshire coast is underway today.

Mystery continues to surround the source of the substance which was first washed up on beaches from Sandsend to Cayton Bay on Wednesday.

The substance, in the form of large white lumps, was identified as paraffin wax.

Council officials have declared it of “low risk” to people, animals and the environment, though the public is being urged not to handle the substance and to keep children and pets clear of it.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that a clean up operation along the affected beaches was starting today, while Scarborough Borough Council said that there was still no indication of where the wax had come from.

In a tweet, the council said: “Disappointingly, we’ve got no indication as to the cause or where the substance might have come from.”

Speaking yesterday, Nick Edwards, the council’s director said: “While the presence of paraffin wax on the coastline should not deter people visiting our beaches, we ask people to use common sense, not handle the substance and also keep dogs and children away from it.”

Following its established marine pollution response plans, council staff carried out inspections of all beaches in the borough yesterday to get a full understanding of exactly where the substance has been washed up.