The decomposed body of a whale that was washed up on a Welsh beach could be a health hazard the Coastguard has warned. The public have been warned not to get too close to the 27foot carcass of the whale which was washed ashore at Dyfi Ynyslas National Nature Reserve, Ceredigion, in west Wales on Christmas Day.

Dog-walkers have been spotted posing for photos next to the carcass of the Minke whale which was dead when it was washed up. While passerby were undeterred by the sight and smell of the rotting cetacean, the public have been warned not to get too close.

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard said: "The whale is very decomposed and may pose a health hazard to anyone that touches it. A biohazard marker has been put up to warn members of the public about getting too close.

"If the whale had been alive the situation might have been different, but as I understand it the carcass is pretty badly decomposed. Someone will be going down to have a look at it today. They take samples for analysis, measure it and sometimes they would take away the lower jaw to perform a bit of an autopsy.

"We do get whales washed up from time to time, but I wouldn't say it is a common occurrence. Weather conditions have hampered efforts to remove the whale over the weekend and discussions are continuing between the Maritime Coastguard Agency and Natural Resources Wales to arrange its safe removal as quickly as possible."

According to Sky News a decision on how the carcass is disposed of will be taken by National Resources Wales and the Receiver of Wreck, which has responsibility for so-called royal fish such as whales, sturgeons and dolphins.