BUDE'S Summerleaze Beach has had eight sewage alerts since a new system came into operation, it has been revealed.

The new sewage alert system for the benefit of beach users has highlighted up to 48 sewage spills across Devon and Cornwall since it launched in June.

The text and email alerts are a trial collaboration between Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and water companies.

Summerleaze Beach had eight alerts and Salcombe, in Devon, has had nine.

SAS say these spills are happening "too frequently."

The trial began in the South West on June 20.

South West Water (SWW) tells SAS when sewage is discharged from Combined Storm Overflows (CSOs) near beaches.

SAS then uses texts or emails to let the 1,500 subscribers know about the sewage.

Andy Cummins, from SAS, said SAS had been campaigning about sewage releases for many years.

Since the alert system had been operating, SAS was seeing "surprise, shock and disgust" from the general public.

"We have a system that's full to the brim already. That's not acceptable, we need to work on improving the system."

South West Water claims: "No other European country is offering this sort of live information on risks to bathing water quality.

"The system is broadly telling us what we and most beach users know —that storms can have a short term impact on the quality of the bathing water.

"We need to analyse the results carefully across the whole season and compare them with the sampling data to decide whether we need to make further investment."

Mr Cummins added that if no sewage alerts were sent out beachgoers should have confidence in the water quality.

The South West trial is due to end on September 30 but he explained that SAS hoped to work with the Environment Agency to introduce the alerts all year round.