The Coastguard was called out yesterday afternoon following reports of several maritime distress flares being found on Irvine Beach by the volunteers from Coastwatch Irvine.

The Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team responded immediately and proceeded to Irvine to liaise with the first witnesses and establish the full circumstances of the incident.

Arriving on scene, the team proceeded straight onto the beach where four time expired rocket flares and three time expired hand smoke flares were discovered and identified having been washed up by the tide.

The team then set up an initial cordon and conducted the necessary safety assessment of the devices before making them safe and removing them from the beach. 

A spokesperson said: "Maritime distress flares are explosive devices and pose a significant risk, especially when time expired and having spent time in the water. They can be safely disposed of at many marinas and chandlers for a small fee.

"We would urge people not to throw time expired pyrotechnics overboard or dump them in bins or anywhere else due to the risks involved – it’s also a criminal offence."