SHARKS have been spotted off the North Yorkshire coast in the recent hot weather.

Marine wildlife experts claim to have seen up to 30 porbeagle sharks, relatives of the Great White and each up to three metres long, in deep water about 12 miles from land.

The sharks, which weigh up to about 300 pounds each, and eat mainly bony fish, are usually found off the south coast, but experts on a ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam claim to have recorded seven sightings of groups of about four off the North Yorkshire coast.

Alison Lomax, of UK whale and dolphin conservation charity Orca, said 30 to 40 humpback whales had also been sighted near Newcastle, and rising temperatures often led creatures to move to areas they would not normally visit.

She said: "Normally we never spot porbeagle sharks so far north, but because of the hot weather we're seeing stranger things. They look and move very differently to whales.”

Porbeagles maintain a higher body temperature than the surrounding water, and experts believe they may have headed north to cool off as temperatures rose.

Last month, fishing media reported that a 365lb porbeagle had been caught 30 miles off Whitby by Sam Ward, 41, from Lincolnshire. It is the largest ever caught off North Yorkshire and is believed to be the largest ever caught in the North Sea.

Mr Ward, whose previous biggest catch was a 38lb carp, was quoted by the Angling Times saying: “It took me over three hours to actually land it – I was completely exhausted by the end.”