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Northumbria's 'Aquaman' to patrol North East waters

An officer from the force's Marine Unit has taken to the water to police the maritime community to ensure animals, such as seals and dolphins, are protected.

PC Paul Cullen, known as Northumbria’s Aquaman, has been tasked with keeping the North East’s waters safe for the community and its wildlife.

PC Cullen is part of a force’s dedicated Marine Unit is made up of officers who are specially trained in diving and search techniques. The unit covers 120 miles of Northumberland’s coastline between Berwick to Ryhope, which includes two major rivers and ports, as well as inland waterways.

The unit offers mutual aid and support to other forces across the county and agencies including the coastguard, border force and fisheries.

The force has had specialist wildlife officers for years, tackling crimes linked to poaching and animal cruelty.

Now PC Cullen will take to the water to investigate such crimes as harassing dolphins, cruelty to animals – such as seals – and illegal fishing.

He said: “As the Marine Wildlife Officer, I am responsible for enforcing legislation with regard to the protection and preservation of wildlife and enforcing the law and any criminal offences around it and their environment, as well giving advice on local knowledge around our coastline.

“I’m looking forward to the new challenge. We’ve had incidents in the past where people have harassed marine wildlife and it’s great we now have a dedicated resource for these types of crimes.”

PC Cullen went on to say: “We are privileged to see a varied amount of marine wildlife around our area and we should all be aware of our code of conduct. We want to protect our marine wildlife and the environment around it, we have a fantastic coastline in the North East which attracts a wealth of tourism every year and we want to keep it that way.

“We all have a responsibility to make sure everyone is protected and supported – and that includes Flipper and his friends too!”

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