Stoats spotted

RARE sightings of stoats in ermine are being recorded across Northumberland.

Usually the creatures, which are members of the weasel family, have a rich red-brown coat, with off-white underparts and a conspicuous black tip on the tail.

However, in cold climates where there is an inch or more of snow for a prolonged period, the coat can change to white fur, known as ermine, though the black tail tip remains.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust has recorded nine sightings of stoats in ermine since the New Year and is urging people to keep their eyes peeled for more.

Sightings can be reported to the conservation team on 0191 284 6884, or by email to mail@northwt.org.uk