06/01/2012 13:44 GMT

UK Weather: Seal Pups Injured As Violent Storms Sweep Across Britain

Almost 60 young seal pups have been injured by the stormy weather that has battered the UK this week, according to the RSPCA.

The rough conditions had come at the worst possible time for the pups, as they have just been left by their mothers and were set to launch themselves out to sea alone.

The RSPCA said that the seals were being cared for at four separate animal welfare centres across the country.

Alison Charles, manager at East Winch Wildlife Centre in Norfolk, told the Press Association they were caring for 41 seals, with at least 24 coming into the centre in the recent bad weather. Most were juvenile grey seals.

"There have been about four coming in a day since the wind started, most of them just unable to deal with the conditions out there," she said.

"It would be incredibly hard work for the inexperienced swimmer to navigate such waters, and many of them just couldn't cope and were found floundering on beaches or rocks."

The RSPCA's three other centres, in Somerset, East Sussex and Cheshire, have also had to take in seals.

Britain has been hit with a series of violent storms in recent days with wind speeds of 112mph recorded overnight on Wednesday at Great Dun Fell in the Pennines.

Two people lost their lives in the storms. Father-of-three Christopher Hayes, 51, was killed when a tree crushed his parked van in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and a crew member on board a tanker that was hit by a large wave off the coast of the south Devon/Cornwall border also died.

The extreme weather also caused critically endangered marine turtles, more at home in the Gulf of Mexico, to be washed up on a beach in Wales where they were discovered dead, the Marine Conservation Society said.

But Dr Peter Richardson, the MCS' biodiversity programme manager, said people should not chuck away dead turtles as they can be useful for post-mortem research.