Dolphins and whales are visiting seas off Falmouth in increasing numbers, according to the captain of a wildlife sightseeing boat who operates tours out of the harbour.

Keith Leeves of AK Wildlife Cruises said he and his crew have spotted dolphins on every one of 16 trips since they returned their boat Free Spirit to the water on January 25.

Last year the company recorded 5,455 sightings of cetaceans - whales, dolphins and porpoises - and this year the tally is already at over 1,000, while crews have spotted four different species: harbour porpoises and common, bottlenose and Risso's dolphins.

Mr Leeves said: "We have continually sighted and recorded cetaceans on every single wildlife cruise we have run, giving families and children memories that will last forever and for us."

He added: "At one stage, for an hour, we had continual and multiple common dolphin pods surrounding Free Spirit , as we head east through Falmouth Bay.

"Sustainable pilchards and mackerel bait fish shoals is always the key to bring in all these truly fabulous and very special creatures, for us all to marvel at and enjoy."

And Mr Leeves, who uses his wildlife cruises to collect sighting data for marine mammal research, in association with Exeter University, said he believes there is "every chance" that humpback whales will return to the bay this year, and added: "Keep your eyes peeled everyone, as they love to come in very close to feed."