A MEP has been highlighting the improvements the European Union has made to the quality of bathing waters off the UK.
Paul Brannen MEP, representing the north east, swam in the sea off five beaches – including Whitley Bay – as part of the campaign for the UK to remain in the EU.
Wearing union flag shorts and armed with a union flag beach towel, he was watched by supporters, including Mayor Norma Redfearn.
Mr Brannen said: “The transformation of our air, rivers and beaches has come about because we decided to work together with our European neighbours to agree common standards.
“We are making the case to remain in the European Union because it is good for jobs and trade as well as workers’ and consumer rights and helping to keep peace in Europe for over 70 years.”
“It’s been a bit of a trek, but I can say that it was totally worth a bit of cold and wet to highlight the massive difference the European Union has made to our beaches.
“Environmental issues don’t stop at borders and only by working together can we protect our environment.
“I hope everyone in the region recognises that the EU has made changes to their quality of life that they may not even think about, beaches being only one of many examples.”
The EU referendum takes place on June 23.