A warning has been issued to beach-goers about the dangers of WEEVER fish following a spike in the number of stings.

RNLI Lifeguards warned the public to be alert to the dangers after dealing with 25 incidents across Devon and Cornwall beaches in the last week.

The venomous fish have spines of their backs and gill covers and come into shallow water, burying themselves under the sand.

And if stepped on, the spine of the fish could pierce the skin, discharging the venom.

Whilst it doesn't cause lasting harm, the "excruciating" pain usually lasts for around two hours, and becomes red, inflamed and swells up.

The RNLI Lifeguards wrote on Facebook: "Recognise this little monster?

"Last week our lifeguards reported 26 Weever fish stings across our beaches.

"This one was dead when we found it but we wanted to show you how small these little guys are.

"If you do get stung, come and visit our Lifeguards who are well rehearsed in treating these stings with hot water and perhaps some of their own Weever stories."

Weever fish stings are best treated with as hot water that the affected person can handle for at least 30 minutes, or use hot flannels or towels.

It is also advised if the spine is stuck in your foot that you pull it out with tweezers or the edge of a bank card - but do not touch the spine with bare hands.

On the British Sea Fishing website, it says: "There may also be extreme numbness and in extreme cases there can even be localised paralysis for a short period of time.

"Usually the pain begins to subside after a few hours, and should be gone within 12 to 24 hours. Further complications will emerge if the spines have broken off into the wound, as they may need to be removed before the pain will subside."