WEYMOUTH'S much-loved Danny the dolphin died after being hit by a ship, scientists have confirmed.

A necropsy examination carried out yesterday by the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme recorded the cause of death as a 'ship strike'.

Read more: Devastation over tragic death of Danny the dolphin

A statement reads: "It is with sadness that we can confirm that this was indeed ‘Danny’, a solitary bottlenose dolphin that had been resident in the region over the last few years.

"The findings from the examination carried out at Zoological Society London (ZSL) yesterday evening are considered to be consistent with acute physical trauma, as a result of shipstrike. A deep penetrating laceration on the right side of the body behind the head and other injuries to the tail stock and dorsal fin were likely due to sharp force trauma following impact from a large propeller."

Danny is believed to have first been sighted in Weymouth in 2018. He was found dead at Portland Harbour on Tuesday.

The news comes after at least three dead dolphins and a seal were sighted at Chesil Beach on Portland earlier this week, however Danny's death is not believed to be linked.