Passersby were stunned yesterday (Sunday) to spot a dead cow floating in Ilfracombe harbour.

The dead cow floated from Ilfracombe's inner harbour to the outer harbour towards Verity. Picture: Paul GatesThe dead cow floated from Ilfracombe's inner harbour to the outer harbour towards Verity. Picture: Paul Gates

Harbour master Georgina Carlo-Paat was called at around 1.30pm after numerous people spotted the black and white Friesian cow in the outer harbour near the Old Quay Head.

It is thought the animal had fallen off a cliff.

Georgina said after confirming it was indeed a full grown cow, she contacted North Devon Council's environmental health.

A plan was hatched to remove it Monday morning using the council's works unit, but at 6pm the farmer who owned the cow contacted Georgina to ask if he could go and pick it up.

She said: “I explained a plan was in place and he said he would rather not waste tax payers' money and he would come down and pick it up himself.

“It was quite fresh so it was still intact and could not have been in the water that long.

“It's apparently not been recorded before at the harbour and is certainly not your every day Sunday afternoon.”