SCOTLAND'S environmental watchdog has said the “mystery” of “paint-like substances” found on Scottish beaches has been solved.

Scientists from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have cracked the mystery of the strange yellowish phenomenon spotted by members of the public on coastlines around Scotland.

Sightenings of the “paint-like substance” had been reported all over the country with inquiries coming from Glasgow, the Hebrides, the Highlands, and Fife and Angus.

Staff from SEPA’s National Monitoring Team were called and collected samples of the substance on the west coast from a stretch between the Isle of Arran, Fairlie, and Largs.

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The samples that were collected from the west coast were then taken to SEPA’s Marine Ecology Team based at Eurocentral, which is near Motherwell.

After processing the samples, the team of experts identified the strange substance as Conifer pollen deposits.

The SPEA has explained the strange phenomenon occurs when a large amount of pollen is released all at once.

They also confirmed the deposits are harmless to the environment and naturally occurring due to many trees of the same species growing together close to the ocean.

In this case, it was two types of trees, Conifers and Spruce, pollen, produced on mass and collected on the shorelines.

Myles O’Reilly, senior marine ecologist from SEPA, said the pollen from the Conifer trees are buoyant so can easily cover the coastline and coat other areas around them like rocks and parked cars.

He said: “At this time of year, the public can expect to see yellowish slicks of pollen deposits collecting on shorelines around Scotland.

“In Spring around April and May, conifer trees, such as spruce or pine, produce copious quantities of pollen.

“Conifer pollen grains have little buoyancy sacs to help them disperse in the wind, and these sacs also mean they float well on water.

“The pollen deposits can form a mat or slick on the sea, collect around the seashore and look like a paint-like substance covering rocks and beaches.

“It can also coat parked vehicles and stationary objects which may look like a yellow dust.”

SEPA has also warned that during the summer months there can be other natural occurring events like algal plankton blooms which can discolour water or even form on the shorelines as well.