FOUR bottlenose dolphins have been spotted off the coast in two separate sightings.

The sighting of the dolphins came about three to four miles offshore between Lancing and Shoreham on May 2.

A spokesman from Sussex Dolphin Project said the dolphins were first spotted at about 11.30am and were tracked for about 20 minutes.

Later the same day, a similar-sized pod were spotted near Ferring.

“The sighting is of a pod of bottlenose dolphins, which are the most commonly sighted species in Sussex waters,” the Sussex Dolphin Project spokesman said.

“They have been seen at all times of year, but we see an increase in sightings through the spring and summer months.

The spokesman also said the two sightings may be linked.

The Sussex Dolphin Project’s sighting season runs from May to September.

“It's not unusual to see dolphins in May, and we expect sightings to increase over the coming months,” the spokesman added.

“The pod size also falls within our usual range, which is generally two to 15 individuals, but again we have received sightings of pods with many more individuals, and we also have sightings of solitary dolphins.”

In March, a pair of bottlenose dolphins were spotted about 500 metres west of Brighton Marina.

The month before, a male common dolphin was spotted on the beach in Hove - just weeks after the fin of a great white shark was reportedly spotted yards off the coast.

However, a spokesman for Littlehampton Harbour said the fin sighting was likely the end of a Ferring Outfall pipe.

During the summer, the Sussex Dolphin Project can receive multiple sightings a day, especially if a pod is travelling close to the shore.

Last summer, dolphins, seals and even a whale were seen off the county’s coast.