DEADLY 'poisonous parsnips' have been found on Largs beach.

The plants, which can be lethal to dogs, have been spotted on the shore by dogwalkers, who contacted the News to raise the alarm.

Resident Martha Mary was walking her poodle cross Poppy along the beach last week after some stormy weather and noticed that the tide had brought in some of the deadly fungi.

The Hemlock Water Dropwort, more known as poisonous parsnip, can prove lethal if ingested by animals and also poses a danger to humans due to its ability to cause severe burns if coming into contact with the skin.

It can often be found in shallow waters and is most toxic during late winter and early spring.

One dog died and another became seriously ill in Cardross after eating roots of the plant following a tidal surge a few years ago.

Martha said: "I spotted the parsnips on the shore on the south side of Largs and I recognised them from previous warnings I have seen.

"I would like to tell people to be on their guard.

"With more storms to come this year, there might be more of them coming our way.

"I was walking Poppy down the shore in front of Broomfields. She had jumped down towards it but as soon as I spotted it I pulled her away.

"I believe the plant is actually extremely poisonous to cats, dogs and horses.

"Largs has a huge dog walking community and the beach is always a popular place to take pets. I would like all dog owners to be aware of the issue."

The roots of the plant, which bear a resemblance to parsnips, are extremely toxic.

It is not thought that any dogs have currently been affected in the Largs area.

North Ayrshire Council have issued guidelines if you spot the poisonous parsnips on the beach.

A spokesperson said: "If you find any suspicious plants or vegetation on the beach please do not touch it or allow your kids or pets to go near it."

The public are being advised to contact North Ayrshire Council on 01294 310000 to pass on any information regarding any finds and their exact location to allow the council's Streetscene team to investigate and take any required action.