Great white shark 'hunting off Britain's shores'

Graeme Pullen says he's been chasing the predator for the past two years

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Be very wary in the water this ­summer – a shark expert claims a deadly great white is hunting off some of our most popular beaches.

Fishing journalist Graeme Pullen says he has been chasing the fearsome ­predator on the south coast for the past two years, hoping he could catch it.

See also: Large shark spotted in Cornwall

See also: Panic as 'terrifying' eight-foot shark spotted in Magaluf sea

But he said it is time for the public to be told – and his terrifying claim comes just a day after holidaymakers fled a much smaller blue shark in Majorca.

Mr Pullen said: "Make no mistake, this is the big one. This is surely Britain's first great white – and it'll be coming back this summer. The danger is this shark will eventually stumble across someone in a wetsuit and mistake them for a seal."

Credits: alamy

People flocked to the coast are warned to beware

He claims the monster, like the one that featured in Steven Spielberg 's 1975 hit Jaws, has been sighted repeatedly off Hayling Island, Hants, for two years.

The island is popular with holidaymakers and a short boat ride from tourist draws like Southsea and West Wittering.

Mr Pullen, who has caught hundreds of species of shark off our coasts in his 40-year career, also tags them for the US National Marine Fisheries Service.

He said: "This is no basking shark, no porbeagle, blue or mako. Others have also given details of their sightings and this is not miles out to sea but close to shore, mostly hunting in the estuaries."

The fishing expert claims the beast of the deep has been spotted off Britain's shores

Credits: National Geographic Creative

Other witnesses fear the shark could be close to the UK

Mr Pullen has spoken to witnesses including local commercial skipper Pete Williams, who came face to face with the killer in August 2015.

Mr Williams, 35, said: "It was huge, the biggest shark I have seen, and it looked like a great white. It literally wrenched the net out of my arms and ripped through it like it was tissue paper. I saw it within a few feet. It had huge teeth, piercing eyes. It was at least 12ft."

Shark fisherman Wayne Comben, 50, said: "I saw a very big dorsal fin. I am not prone to imagination. We were in the harbour, you should never see anything like that. I can't see what else it could have been other than a great white.

"It is easy to be cynical but the reports have kept coming. Birdwatchers watched seals firing themselves on to mud flats and looking in a panic.

"Some workers on the beach saw a huge dorsal fin patrolling the harbour, so it seems clear there is a big shark coming back to hunt each year and people need to be told."

Credits: WWW. 2OCEANSVIBE.COM

A shark washed up after is it believed to have been attacked

Digger driver Jason Carpenter had a scare last September. He said: "I was in a JCB and we could all see it was an immense shark. We will not be swimming in the Solent any time soon."

There is a documented population of great whites in the Mediterranean and they have been blamed for attacks off Italy. In 1989, diver Luciano Costanzo, 47, was reportedly eaten alive by one near Tuscany. His body was never found.

While there have been no confirmed sightings here, despite reported incidents in places like Cornwall and Scotland, there has been a spike in the number of dead dolphins and seals on beaches.

The cause is unclear but some of the corpses were mutilated. In January, a dolphin washed up in Newquay with a huge "shark bite".

The Cornwall Wildlife Trust said from January to March 2016, 61 dolphins, porpoises and whales were found dead on Cornwall's coast, the steepest rise since 2006. Mutilated corpses have also been found in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Some postmortems showed they died from pollution or illnesses – but others baffled experts.

Mr Williams said conditions off our coasts are good for great whites.

Fisherman Pete Williams has had a close encounter

He said: "Over the years, with warmer temperatures, we've seen different species. There is no reason why a species like that can't be kicking around, especially now I have seen what I did.

"There is lots of food out there, lots of bait fish here, lots of seal pups about." Mr Pullen, who runs the Totally Awesome Fishing channel on YouTube, said now that the summer holidays are upon us, he felt it was his duty to warn people of the danger.

He said: "This shark has moved into the island's waters, found a rich food source and we believe it is returning each year to feed on the seals and bass.

"It is hunting in water only feet deep. I would love to have been the first to tag one but you have to balance the fact that this shark will eventually stumble across someone in a black wetsuit and mistake it for a seal."

Sharks and more: Amazing pics of ocean life

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