Cleveley’s mother was amazed when she spotted a plate-sized ray in the back garden

The ray – thought to be a stingray common in the British Isles – was spotted by Diane Langridge and her son Logan behind their home on Anchorsholme Lane West around 5pm yesterday.

Diane, 40, said: “My son was cleaning his fish tanks and going into the back garden and the next thing I heard was ‘Mum, Mum!’ shouted.

“I ran out as fast as I could thinking something had happened and he was standing there holding this ray. He was fresh too – he was panicking because he thought he was alive, but we checked and he was definitely dead.

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The stingray found in Diane Langridge’s back garden

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Huge jellyfish spotted on Blackpool beach

“All I could think of was Steve Irwin, and I yelled, ‘Put it down before you get bitten!’ But I did a little research and it appears to be a stingray.”

Spinybacks are the most commonly encountered rays in the coastal waters of Great Britain and Ireland. They can grow up to 4ft across and weigh up to 35lbs – although most specimens found in the UK are much smaller.

Diane, a mother of three, said: “It was really bizarre and I always think it must have been a seagull that got it because we’re not that far from the beach. Our back garden is adjacent to Anchorsholme’s bowling green and is fairly fenced in so it doesn’t seem like anyone could have knocked it over.

“But I’ve lived in the Blackpool area for 22 years and I’ve never seen one on the beach.

“Everyone in the house would come running and wondering what to do with it and my son ended up burying it because we didn’t want the dogs to have it.

“It’s strange though. It’s not something you expect to go into your garden and see.

“Now I’m wondering, am I out in the garden sunbathing and suddenly I get a ray in the face? Now I have to beware of flying fish!”

A Lancashire Wildlife Trust spokesman said: “We like mystery at the Wildlife Trust! First we would see if the ray, being a stingray, has any obvious claw marks.

“If a herring gull or crow picked that up, it would have been too heavy for birds their size and they would have carried it only a few yards, out of reach of their competitors.” It would be quite unusual for a gull to carry its carrion that far.

“We’re assuming it washed up dead on shore, so it could have been picked up on the beach by a buzzard or, and this is exciting, a white-tailed sea eagle, like one recently spotted in Lancashire. There is also the possibility that the ray was dumped by a fishmonger and picked up there, which is not exciting at all.”

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