THERE were fears oil leaking from the stranded Napoli was drifting towards Lyme Regis on the weekend.

Lyme Regis harbourmaster Mike Poupard became concerned on Saturday after reports that four large oil slicks were drifting eastwards from the stricken container ship, which had began breaking up off Branscombe, Devon.

With the tide out, no commercial craft could leave the harbour to assess the potential threat of the leak, so Mr Poupard enlisted the help of the Lyme Regis lifeboat.

To avoid an unnecessary emergency response by setting off the pagers, lifeboat operations manager, Rob Fossett, telephoned around for a full team of both boat and shore crew.

The lifeboat was launched at 12.30pm and made its way west with the harbourmaster on board.

They returned to station at 1.45pm, after completing a full survey of the area.

It was the second time the lifeboat was launched that day.