Hundreds of starfish have washed up on a beach near Lowestoft in Suffolk.

Walkers this morning discovered the beach at Kessingland had been covered with the creatures.

Dog walkers in the area should keep a careful eye on their pets as these sea creatures can carry paralytic shellfish poison, which can be very dangerous if dogs eat them.

One walker, Joanne Butler, said: "On Kessingland beach, there are hundreds of washed-up starfish. I have never seen anything like it. It happened last week too, thousands.

Mrs Butler took a series of photographs documenting the beach and described the situation as "heartbreaking".

She added: "I spoke to two ladies on the beach and they said they had about six on the beach last year but they had never seen this many before."

Jon Butler, head of operations at Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, said: "This is an occurrence we see, mass strandings of starfish do happen.

"We often see them for 1-2 meters at the tide line which goes on for a few miles.

"It is normally associated with a strong easterly wind and rough conditions. However, they do not always occur immediately after bad weather, and it can take some time before they are brought ashore.

"Sometimes it can also be caused by a rapid change in temperature which stuns things."

He continued "One of the things we recognised last year was that the starfish had a high concentration of toxins.

"If you have a dog with a tendency to eat things they find on the beach, we recommend you keep them on a lead.

"Eventually, they will be washed away by the tide, as seagulls will not touch them."