Public warned not to cross live railway line to see dead whale

The public has been urged not to cross a live railway line to see a dead whale.

The 17m (56ft) fin whale washed up on the Fife coast near Culross last month and has been left to decompose naturally in the hard-to-access spot.

Concerns have now been raised that those attempting to get to the carcass next to the Firth of Forth have been crossing the nearby train tracks.

Network Rail said it was "disappointing" that people were "blatantly disregarding their own safety and that of others".

A spokesperson said: "Trespassing on the railway is illegal, incredibly dangerous, and can cause life-changing or even fatal injuries.

"Incidents of trespass on the railway cause issues for everyone using the network, and it's always disappointing to see people blatantly disregarding their own safety and that of others.

"We work closely with the British Transport Police and other partners to raise awareness of the dangers of trespassing and we urge the public to keep off the tracks."

A charity previously advised the public to stay away from the shoreline as it was hoped that by allowing the mammal to decompose naturally it would enrich the coastal environment with nutrients and provide a food source for wildlife during the winter period.

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust said the area was "relatively inaccessible".

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Robbie Blyth, head of operations at the trust, told Sky News that the railway line "isn't in much use" but is still active and is a danger to those crossing.

He said the wildlife charity will be installing signage along the Fife Coastal Path to provide guidance on responsible access and will be "working with the rail authorities who are aware of the situation".

Mr Blyth added: "As the whale decomposes, I can't underestimate the importance of the cetacean carcasses as a source of food for scavengers such as foxes, birds etc.

"However, with so many people accessing the site in a manner that's inappropriate this will stop the natural process."

Fin whales are the second-largest mammal in the world after the blue whale.

The species has a distinct ridge along its back behind the dorsal fin - earning the nickname "razorback" - and is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.