THE water off Seaham beach has been has been branded unfit for swimming by an influential tourism guide.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) downgraded the County Durham beach from recommended last year, to failure this, due to levels of contamination in the sea.
It is a further blow to the region, after beaches at Roker and Seaburn were also downgraded, although they did not fail water quality tests.
Coastal pollution officer at MCS, Rachel Wyatt, blamed relentless rain and flooding for the increase in the amount of bacteria and viruses ending up in bathing waters.
But she warned more needs to be done to monitor combined sewer overflows and reduce pollution from farms and populated areas.
She said: “Action must be taken now.”