The body of a massive octopus has been retrieved from the waters of South Devon by local man Ziggy Austin.

Ziggy, of adventure activity company Rock Solid Coasteering, had been rock climbing with his daughter Lauren at Hope Nose in Torbay when they were distracted by a seal catching an octopus.

He said the seal bit the head off and the body was washed up to the cliffs: 'I felt a tentacle under the water and could see that it was still moving, I thought "Oh My God, it's something unusual" because it was massive. I tangled it around my fishing rod and scooped it up. I hauled it out but it was the seal who caught it. It's head was severed off but it's body was huge.

'It is really unusual, I have never seen an octopus of this size, the common ones are about a metre across, this was more than double that. I haven't measured it properly yet but 7ft is a minimal estimate.'

Ziggy's daughter Lauren with the octopus
Ziggy's daughter Lauren with the octopus (Ziggy Austin, Rock Solid Coasteering)

Ziggy said his intention was to record his findings and then share the octopus among his friends.

Last year conservationists suggested an octopus population boom in the south west after fishermen in Cornwall reported a catch of 150 in one day and a general increase in numbers around the Lizard area.