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the Natural History Museum’s Fish Curator Oliver Crimmen, and the Shark Trust’s Richard Peirce -- probably saw the original footage, which one can imagine was of significantly better quality (although having read Richard Peirce's account in his Sharks of British Seas, I'm not so sure anymore! Regardless, the experts gave the only response they could under the circumstances: that the animal in the video looked like a large shark and a Great white could not be ruled out.

That is apparently all some of the tabloids needed to hear and declared a “killer fish” present in UK waters.

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Unfortunately, the expedition found no trace of white sharks (photo, left) in the 104km (70 mi.) stretch they explored between Trevose Head and Hartland Point.

Although there were cameras onboard, as one of the Blue Fox's regular customers -- Adrian Bradyshaw -- pointed out to me: "The capture on film (let alone a good quality identifying photo) of a fleeting event, such as the appearance of a GW at the side of your boat, to disappear as quickly as it materialised, is no mean feat." Consequently, there were no photos taken and so, despite the remarkable credibility of this account, there remains no unquestionable proof of the shark species involved.

The credibility of the Blue Fox encounter was enhanced by two subsequent events shortly afterwards.

The day after the Blue Fox incident, in almost exactly the same spot, two men fishing for tope on the boat Blissful witnessed a large shark -- which they said was as least as long as their 5.2m (17ft) boat -- surface and bite two-thirds off the shark they were hauling in.

The full description of the shark's appearance and behaviour towards the boat match perfectly that given by Mr Briggs and his colleagues the day before.

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