“The Shoreham Seal” pictured hitching a ride on a rowing boat and sunbathing on the shore has been injured, according to a vet.

The common grey seal hit the headlines after joining a member of the Shoreham Rowing Club on his canoe.

But Tracy Harrison, a veterinary nurse with Coastway Vets, believes the young animal has a fishing line stuck in its throat.

She said: “There is evidence of discharge from its nose and mouth and it has been seen to be coughing and pawing at the side of its face.

“It has become apparent over the course of yesterday afternoon that it is suffering as a result of a length of fishing line stuck down its throat which could potentially have weights and hooks attached.”

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) rushed to help the injured seal after it was spotted by Ms Harrison last night.

But the animal made a “bid for freedom” before it could be helped.

The vet is calling on people to get in contact with the BDMLR if they see the seal.

Ms Harrison said: “Under no circumstances should the seal be approached or offered food.

“They might look cute and cuddly but they are wild animals capable of inflicting serious damage when frightened or unwell.”

If you see the seal, contact the BDMLR on 01825 765546.