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Shotgun cartridges, false toenails and a bus chair all found on UK beaches this year




Shotgun cartridges, a bus chair, false toenails and a CCTV camera are among some of the oddest items found by volunteers cleaning up the UK’s beaches in 2021.

The Marine Conservation Society’s dedicated community of volunteers head to the coast come rain or shine to keep the UK’s beaches beautiful.

The charity’s volunteers not only clear litter, but record what they find. While some is, unfortunately, to be expected, other beach litter can come as a bit of a surprise!

Results from this year’s Great British Beach Clean, a week of beach cleaning events across the UK and funded thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, found litter levels to be dropping. The year-on-year drop suggests policies like plastic bag charges and single-use plastic bans are working. However, 75% of all beach litter collected was made of plastic or polystyrene.

Image: Aled Llywelyn

Lizzie Prior, Beachwatch Manager at the Marine Conservation Society said: “It’s great to see litter levels continuing to drop on our beaches, but the massive amount of plastic we’re still finding is certainly cause for concern.

“Our dedicated volunteers head to the beach year-round to collect litter and data which is vital to our work. Sometimes, what they find is a little more unusual, and doesn’t quite fit into our survey form’s categories! We’re sharing some of the items that our volunteers came across this year.”

Some of the items found this year by Marine Conservation Society volunteers:

  • CCTV camera
  • Hearing aid
  • 4 cabbages and 30 orange peels
  • Shotgun cartridges
  • Sofa
  • Bus chair
  • Tool box
  • False toenails
  • Carpet

Many of the unusual items collected by volunteers contain, in some way, plastic. Plastic pieces remain the most prevalent form of litter on UK beaches, with an average of 112 pieces found for every 100 metres of UK beach surveyed.

People’s Postcode Lottery players have raised £3.7 million for Marine Conservation Society and have been supporting both the Great British Beach Clean and the Marine Conservation Society’s beach cleaning programme since 2015.

Image: Aled Llywelyn

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “While it’s heartening that overall the level of litter on beaches has dropped this year, I was shocked to learn about the huge array of items that have been discarded as waste and have then gone on to be washed up on our beaches.

“It’s a stark reminder that there’s more to be done so I’m delighted that funding raised by our players is supporting Marine Conservation Society – and their wonderful volunteers – to continue this valuable work.”

To learn more about the Marine Conservation Society’s beach clean results, and join as a volunteer, visit the charity’s website:

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Minke whale spotted off Cardigan Bay – A first in 10 years!




In a thrilling encounter that left a team of marine researchers in awe, a majestic minke whale was sighted during a line transect survey on June 15, 2023. The remarkable event took place approximately 10 nautical miles off the coast of Cardigan Bay, amidst an area teeming with shearwaters. The whale’s behavior, as observed by Katrin Lohrengel, Sea Watch’s Monitoring Officer, indicated potential foraging activities, as it gracefully engaged in deep dives.

This exceptional sighting is the first documented instance of a minke whale in the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) since 2013, during one of Sea Watch Foundation’s line transect surveys. The significance of this encounter cannot be overstated, as it underscores the importance of continuous scientific efforts in studying and conserving the abundant marine biodiversity of this region. Notably, this is the first minke whale sighting in a decade within the Cardigan SAC, with sightings being more prevalent further down in Pembrokeshire. Additionally, another minke whale was sighted the following day, June 16, 2023, 11 nautical miles off the Llyn Peninsula during a separate survey conducted by Professor Peter GH Evans, Director of the Sea Watch Foundation.

Line-transect surveys play a pivotal role in Sea Watch’s research, providing invaluable data on the presence, abundance, and distribution of marine species in their natural habitats. The sighting of a minke whale further emphasizes the ecological significance of the Cardigan Bay SAC, highlighting the urgent need for sustained conservation efforts to safeguard this vital marine environment.

Renowned for their agility and inquisitive nature, minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) captivate with their smaller size compared to other baleen whales. These graceful creatures embark on deep dives, skillfully hunting for their preferred prey, including fish and krill.

The sighting of the minke whale stands as a testament to the effectiveness of the team’s research methodologies and their unwavering dedication. Moreover, it serves as a beacon of hope for future discoveries that can contribute to the ongoing conservation endeavors in the Cardigan Bay SAC.

As Sea Watch celebrate this momentous milestone, they reaffirm their commitment to expanding our understanding of marine ecosystems and advocating for the protection of vulnerable species. The team extends our heartfelt gratitude to the local community, volunteers, and stakeholders whose unwavering support has made sightings like this possible.

About Sea Watch:

Sea Watch is a leading marine research organization dedicated to the study and conservation of marine mammals in the United Kingdom. Through scientific research, education, and advocacy, Sea Watch strives to protect and preserve our marine ecosystems for future generations.

For more information, please visit

Pictured: Minke whale sighting off Cardigan Bay by Katrin Lohrengel/Monitoring Officer at Sea Watch Foundation on 15 June 2023.

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New year, new dive centre: Duttons to open on Anglesey in January 2023




Duttons Divers, who have recently announced a new hard boat to join their growing fleet over on the Llyn Peninsula based at Hafan Marina Dive Centre and a second dive centre that opened in January this year, have another big announcement to end the year on!

It seems that there’s just no stopping the Duttons Divers team as they announce their third dive centre opening – this time on Anglesey!

The dive centre will be open from January 2023, and is based just off the A55 at Llangefni Services, offering ease of access from all over the island and to those visiting for the day who will be passing by on their way to dive.

The centre will offer a fully stocked shop with all major brands, as well as a classroom and meeting place for teaching and briefings for the day’s guided dives around the island, equipment servicing and air fills – perfectly located to get your fills on your way too or from sites all over the island.

Owner Clare Dutton says: “We are extremely excited to announce the new centre. We have looked at Anglesey for a while, but the perfect place just did not come up until now. We wanted somewhere central that has easy access for divers to visit.”

If you would like to find out more about the new site, go to their website

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