Dolphin spotted at Sunderland marina

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A DOLPHIN has been spotted swimming around in Sunderland’s Roker Marina.

Passersby reported the first sightings of the sea-bound mammal at about 10am this morning.

A bottlenose dolphin similar to the one spotted in Roker Marina

A bottlenose dolphin similar to the one spotted in Roker Marina

Dolphins have been spotted in Sunderland before, but it is very unusual.

Steve Orwin, assistant manager of City of Sunderland Resorts Office, said a Sunderland Port Authority boat has been dispatched and confirmed the creature was a 12-13ft bottlenose dolphin.

He said: “When people see what they think is a dolphin it is usually a harbour porpoise, but you can tell whether it is a dolphin by the shape of its fin.”

Ruth Coyne, 34, of Southwick, managed to capture the dolphin on video about 9.20am this morning.

“I was just walking the dog around the marina and I was just close enough to hear it breathing through its blow hole,” she said. “I was probably about 20ft away.

“I was dead excited when I saw it and there was no one there to tell.

“My dad works for the river patrol and said that it was circling there boat - he was about 10ft away from it.

“Apparently there were a couple more near the Shipwrights pub, but no one was able to get a photo of them.”

Eileen Wignall, 61, of Houghton, was visiting the Marina with her two-year-old grandson Liam Nairn, of Washington, when she spotted it.

“I didn’t know what I was seeing at first,” she said. “I thought it must have been a seal but it was too big, and I couldn’t believe my eye.

“When I saw its fin I thought it must be a dolphin.”

Walker Ann Denison, 62, of Fulwell, said she saw if after a man told her where to find it.

“It was swimming near to the marina then out to the pier and back,” she said.

“The man seemed to know a lot about dolphins and said it was too big to be a porpoise so it must be a dolphin.

“I saw it and it looked like one.

“My neighbour used to tell me that when she was young she used to swim with dolphins in between the piers and I thought she was barmy, but she must have been right.”

The dolphin could be seen swimming in the area until about 10.45am and Robin Middlemiss, 70, and Joyce Middlemiss, 66, who were out walking their dog Cindy, spotted it with a pair of binoculars.

“We thought it was a seal at first,” said Robin. “But it was quite big actually.

“It’s been a few years since there was a dolphin here, but I saw it with my binoculars.”

•Did you see the dolpin? Send your pictures and video to echo.news@northeast-press.co.uk