Massive 12ft shark spotted swimming in UK harbour by terrified tourists

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A huge 12ft shark has been spotted by stunned tourists off the coast of the UK.

The enormous fish could clearly be seen gliding through the clear turquoise water in Torquay Marina, Devon.

The basking shark swam within six feet of the harbour wall where families had gathered.

Boat skipper Paul Brown, who owns Torquay Water Sports, photographed the harmless shark as he spotted it coming towards him on Wednesday afternoon.

It circled his vessel several times and swam towards a group of paddle-boarders during its 30-minute jaunt in the harbour.

Paul, 55, said: "I was on the boat with a colleague and he looked up and said 'that's a shark'. You could see the fin going side to side and the water is so clear.

"The shark swam next to the rib and then towards some paddle-boarders who got a fright.

"It pulled away but then came back and circled us again.

"It is quite a small harbour and that is the largest shark I've seen inside it. It was astonishing to watch and also a real privilege."

Hours earlier the dorsal fin of the same shark was seen swimming close to a pontoon in nearby Brixham Harbour just a few miles away.

Basking sharks can grow to 40ft in length and weigh over 10,000lbs.

Despite their enormous size, basking sharks pose no threat to humans and feed only on plankton.

They are commonly seen off the south west coast and come in to shallow water in the spring and summer months to feed.

Basking sharks used to be fished for their meat, fins and liver oil until the species became protected in 1998.

They are Britain's biggest fish and the second biggest fish in the world after the whale shark.

They are one of only three shark species to feed on plankton.

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