Margate Main Sands is one of the affected beaches (Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

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Beach lovers at a popular seaside spots have been warned to stay out of the sea after it was flooded by sewage following a freak lightning strike.

A bolt struck the Margate Pumping Station in Kent during the thunderstorms on Wednesday night which forced Southern Water to release heavily diluted wastewater through an emergency outfall onto the beaches.

Southern Water said it needed to be done "in order to protect local homes and properties from internal flooding".

Signs were put up at Margate Main Sands, Botany Bay, Joss Bay, Walpole Bay, Palm Bay, Kingsgate Bay and Foreness warning people not to enter the water.

And they have also been urged not to enter the area of beach below the high water mark.

People are being warned not to enter the sea in seven costal area including Botany Bay
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

All seven coastal locations would have been packed with locals and day trippers during the heatwave.

A Thanet District Council spokesman said: "As a result of this incident and in liaison with the Environment Agency, we are advising members of the public not to enter the sea or the area of beach below the high water mark. This is on bays between Margate Main Sands and Joss Bay."

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Normal service was resumed at the damaged pumping station on Thursday at around 1pm.

A Southern Water spokesman said: "A 20-strong team has made good progress on the clean-up of the Margate beach area and restoration to full operation of Margate Wastewater Pumping Station, which started in the early hours of this morning.

"The clean-up is now well advanced, in partnership with Thanet Council, and our priority is to ensure that the beaches can re-open safely to the public as quickly as possible.

"The clean-up crew will return to the beach after high tide to check for any residual debris which has washed up on shore and will continue to monitor the coastline tomorrow."

They added: "No pollution is acceptable and we're working with the Environment Agency, Natural England and the local authority to assess the impact on the environment.

"We apologise to the local residents and businesses affected by this incident."