FEARS for a young girl reported to be drifting out to sea on an inflatable beach toy triggered a search by coastguards and lifeboat crews in west Dorset.

Officers from West Bay Coastguard were alerted to reports of a young girl on an inflatable drifting out to sea off Freshwater Beach on Saturday lunchtime at around12.32pm.

Coastguards quickly made their way to the station in West Bay to pick up their equipment and rescue vehicle before heading straight for Freshwater.

Meanwhile the Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat was already at sea, returning from an incident in the Abbotsbury area and was re-tasked to Freshwater.

A spokesman for West Bay Coastguard said: "The lifeboat was quickly on scene and carried out an initial search of the area with no inflatable or persons in distress found.

"Both the lifeboat and coastguard team were then stood down, with the incident being recorded as a False Alarm with Good Intent (FAWGI).

"Stay safe on the coast this summer… but if you find yourself in difficulty or if you are concerned for others, do not hesitate… dial 999 and ask for the coastguard."