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Mystery over who owns the dragon's teeth remains

PUBLISHED: 05:30 21 February 2019

Mr Finch was walking along the beach when he saw the objects peaking out of the sand Picture: NORMAN FINCH

Mr Finch was walking along the beach when he saw the objects peaking out of the sand Picture: NORMAN FINCH

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Questions as to who owns land at Minsmere in which coastal defences known as dragon's teeth were found remain unanswered.

The metal objects could be dragons teeth which have been spotted Picture: NORMAN FINCHThe metal objects could be dragons teeth which have been spotted Picture: NORMAN FINCH

Dragon’s teeth are long metal spikes weighed down with a concrete base that were used as anti-barge defences along the Suffolk coastline during the Second World War.

The metal spikes at Minsmere were spotted last week by walker Norman Finch, who had been crossing the beach from The Coastguard Cottages to Minsmere Sluice.

Concerns had been raised about the safety of the teeth after they were recently uncovered again by winter storms.

Whoever owns the beach where the spikes have been found would have the responsibility of removing them if it wished.

The mysterious objects were spotted at low tide near Minsmere Picture: NORMAN FINCHThe mysterious objects were spotted at low tide near Minsmere Picture: NORMAN FINCH

The defences are sited between the high and low tide marks.

However, the Crown Estate believes that the defences do not sit on its land and that no such items have been found previously in this area.

A spokesman for the Crown Estate said: “On occasion there have been reports of ‘dragons teeth’, the old Second World War defence works, along the stretch of coastline at Minsmere.

“However, the majority of the foreshore between The Coastguard Cottages and Minsmere Sluice does not form part of the Crown Estate and to date no works have been found to be situated on foreshore owned by the Crown Estate.

“Whenever reports of new sightings are received we investigate the location to determine ownership.”

The National Trust and RSPB have also confirmed that the land is not owned by their organisations.

The National Trust have previously removed dragon’s teeth from nearby Dunwich beach in the 1970s to make access to the area less of a risk for visitors.

The project was a serious undertaking and necessitated the use of heavy machinery to remove the concrete weighted spikes from the sand.

An RSPB spokesman added: “If people do approach the visitor centre at Minsmere and it’s clear they intend to swim staff do advise against it and warn that the beach is unmanned.

“However, the beach can be accessed without passing through the visitor centre or through the RSPB’s land.”

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