A porpoise found washed up on a beach in west Dorset died after struggling to swim back into the water.

West Bay Coastguard was alerted by the National Maritime Operations Centre to investigate and record details of a dead porpoise that had washed up on Chesil Beach at around 3.45pm yesterday. 

Four rescue officers made their way to the scene to catalogue the dead mammal which was found east of the car park at Abbotsbury

A spokesman for West Bay Coastguard said initial reports suggested the porpoise was alive, and members of the public had tried to rescue it by pushing it back into the sea.

The spokesman added: "Unfortunately it was too weak and washed back ashore.  

"The mammal appeared to be a juvenile and probably got confused in the shallows."

Dolphins, porpoises and whales are protected under the royal fish laws of the UK, and HM Coastguard undertakes duties on behalf of the Receiver of a Wreck to record details of royal fish washed ashore.

Details including full measurements, tooth count, sex, dorsal, pectoral and fluke condition as well as notable injuries were all recorded on paperwork which will be taken to the Natural History Museum for analysis.

Once complete, officers moved the porpoise above the high water mark to prevent it washing back out to sea on the next high tide.

Recovery and disposal was requested by Solent Coastguard via the local authorities.