A photographer's amazing underwater encounter with Danny the dolphin has won him a prestigious award.

Colin Garrett from Weymouth is a winner in the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2020 for his astounding close-up picture of the friendly bottlenose he snapped while diving in Portland Harbour last year.

Mr Garrett said he was 'flattered' to receive such an accolade for his unique photograph he called 'Smile' in recognition of Danny's 'grin'.

He was a winner in the 'British Waters - Compact' category, and received a dive computer as a prize as well as the prestige of seeing his photograph, taken with a GoPro camera, among the winning pictures in the acclaimed international competition.

More than 5,000 underwater pictures were entered in 13 categories by photographers from 70 countries around the world.

Recreational diver Mr Garrett, 48, snapped Danny last April when reports were first coming in of sightings of a playful dolphin in Portland Harbour. The lone male dolphin, who was subsequently named Danny and has been spotted all along the Dorset coast from Swanage to Lyme Regis, has become very popular with locals and visitors.

Mr Garrett entered the competition on the night before entries closed after his fiancée Sarah Rolston suggested he put the picture forward.

He said: "We had gone out for a dive and thought there was a chance he might show up so I had my camera ready. Unfortunately there was no sign but on our way back in on the rib we spotted a distinctive dorsal fin so I grabbed my snorkelling gear and jumped in.

"He came straight up to me, he was not shy in the slightest and I just took my pictures. I must say actually he is quite a size, about eight feet long and probably a few hundred kilos in weight. Although he is very friendly people should be aware he is a big animal.

"He was about a metre away from me. He swam around and then came back again. It was an amazing encounter and it gave me a quite a smile. I knew the pictures would be good but it was not until I got home and saw them on the big screen that I knew I had something very special."

Mr Garrett added: "I've had an interest in underwater photography for a while now and love taking pictures of marine life in the waters around Weymouth and Portland and sharing them on social media. I'm aware that there are people who are far better than me at doing this. It's just a hobby for me. So it is very flattering to be recognised on such a big stage."

Judge Alex Mustard said of the photograph: "Quite simply a shot that anyone who takes any camera underwater in British waters would be thrilled to produce. Dolphins often move fast and are actually a real challenge to produce such sharp images of in dark green seas."