DOG owners in West Somerset are being told to be vigilant after poisonous waste washed up on Minehead and Blue Anchor beaches.

There have already been reports of dogs eating the substance in Minehead and becoming very ill.

Earlier this week, a dog in Wales died after ingesting the substance, believed to be rancid vegetable fat.

It is particularly dangerous to the Mini-Schnauzer breed according to local vets.

The fat looks like white lumps, resembling polystyrene and smells like fuel or paraffin. 

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: "We received a report that a dog walker on Minehead beach early yesterday morning had noticed a paraffin smell and seen traces of a white gooey substance along the tide line.

"We are aware of incidents of a similar nature occurring along the Dorset coastline recently and a similar occurrence in Devon and Cornwall.

"It is not known how much or how widespread along the beach this substance is.

"We informed West Somerset Environmental Health and one of their officer's went to the site.

"The EHO has reported back and there is no sign of the substance along the tide line of the beach and no smell.

"No further action is envisaged unless there is a re-occurrence."

The white substance was first spotted earlier this month on western Vale beaches, including Ogmore and Southerndown, with several dogs falling ill after eating it.

Similar cases were reported on the Cornish coast in late October.

A spokesperson from West Somerset Council said: "We have put up warning signs at the main pedestrian entrances to the beach at Minehead.

"If a member of the public does come across a white chemical like substance on the beach with a paraffin like smell it is suggested they report this to either West Somerset Council on  01643-703704 or the Environment Agency on 08008-07060."