Shark spotted in British waters with rumours great whites are swimming nearby

Locals believe the shark could have escaped from the National Marine Aquarium

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A shark has been spotted off the south west coast of England.

Plymouth local Sam Booth was shocked when they spotted the shark swimming in Sutton Harbour.

The shark is believed to be the starry smooth hound breed, and can grow up to four-and-a-half feet in length.

Locals are perplexed at how the fish ended up in Plymouth, and believe it could have escaped from the nearby National Marine Aquarium.

A local fisherman told Plymouth Live: "They tend to stay up on the surface for a while before they go back under properly.

The Plymouth shark
The Plymouth shark

"I've fished the harbour for 16 years and I've not seen one caught in their before so it's not common."

Locals will be relieved at the sighting of the starry smooth hound, with great white sharks rumoured to be thriving in waters nearby.

Great white sharks are "more than likely" to be swimming in waters off the UK coast, a fisherman has warned.

Ashley Lane claims the infamous type of shark had been seen by other fishermen in the waters around the West county.

He runs pleasure voyages and fishing trips in Devon.

Three years ago, it was believed that warmer sea temperatures could be enticing new species.

These include hammerhead and great white sharks from African and the Mediterranean waters.

Ashley told Devon Live: "There are more than likely Great Whites out there, mainly off the Cornish coast, but I've heard nothing so far this year. We usually hear more rumours.

Undated handout photo issued by Nottingham Trent University of juvenile great white sharks
Undated handout photo issued by Nottingham Trent University of juvenile great white sharks

"We've seen a few pods of common dolphins with juveniles in the bay and there are definitely tuna swimming around too."

He told Somerset Live: "I think species like this swimming off the Devon coast would be a great thing and definitely good for my trade - people would love to see that sort of thing.

"However, you are then bating wildlife which interferes with the ecosystem - they are not pets and shouldn't be treated as such."

He added: "Our 100-seater boat is running at about 50-60% capacity to allow social distancing.

"We have taken all the possible precautions including spacing people out on the seats, separate booths for families, screens, facemasks for passengers, hand sanitisers and face shields for staff so guests can still be greeted with a smiling face.

"The level of interest in the trips is down, but those who have been out with us have enjoyed it even more and really appreciated the efforts we've gone to to make people feel safe."

A fisherman who made a living selling fish at markets around North Devon, known as 'Dan The Fish Man', Dan Garnett, told Devon Live: "Shark are very important in the food chain. The only predator they really have is man and I think we should leave them alone - that's why I don't sell shark."

Dan added: "It's great news that the water here is getting warmer and that more shark species are coming here. It's not just more sightings, there is a definite change happening.

"However, I would urge caution. While they're not dangerous and I wouldn't tell anyone to stay out of the sea, people do need to respect the water.

"We have a beautiful coastline with stunning clear water and if you do hook a shark, please don't land it."