A POD of 40 pilot whales has been spotted off the coast between Jaywick and St Osyth.

The giant mammals were first seen yesterday in the Blackwater Estuary.

Marine life officers have been keeping track of the whales to make sure they do not become beached on the shoreline.

A police spokesman said: "Officers from Essex Police Marine Unit assisted the Coastguard and British Divers Marine Life rescue after up to 40 pilot whales were seen off the Essex coast.

"There were concerns the mammals would try to beach themselves so boats were used to shepherd them into deeper water."

Thames Coastguard said the whales were in the Colne Bar area this morning, off the coast of Jaywick.