A Fleetwood dog owner was shocked to discover that a substance he found on the beach turned out to be a toxic oil which can kill dogs.
Andy Horsley, 56, of Abercrombie Road, came across the large lump of solidified, rancid palm oil on Fleetwood beach, while walking his three dogs with wife Liz.
A sizeable amount of the palm oil was washed up on the Fylde coast during last month’s storms, and dog walkers in Cleveleys and Rossall are being warned to keep their pets away from it.
At first, Andy thought he had struck lucky, believing the chunk to be ambergris, a substance produced by sperm whales which is used in perfumes and considered valuable.
But, after he had it checked out, he was stunned to be told it was palm oil, which becomes more dangerous to animals when it turns rancid.
The BAE Systems engineer said: “I was quite shocked to find out what it actually was, it’s a real worry for dog owners. Apparently, dogs seem to quite like nibbling at this stuff, but it affects their intestines and can cause a painful death.
“Since I found it, there have been reports in papers and I saw an item onTV, but what struck me was they haven’t really made it plain as to what it actually looks like. I hope I can help with that. The stuff I found is a pretty large chunk.”
The pale, chalky substance was first discovered on English soil in October last year in Cornwall, and was responsible for killing “a dog a day”, according to Cornwall County Council.
It has been reported a Singaporean-registered tanker was found guilty and fined £22,500 for dumping a mixture of palm oil and cleaning fluid off Land’s End last year – leaving a slick 20 miles long.
If a dog is believed to have eaten the substance they should be taken to a vet within 30 minutes, experts say.