A SWIMMER has been rescued after getting into trouble in the Thames Estuary and hanging onto to Southend Pier for safety.

Thames Coastguard were called at 1.45pm with a hovercraft and the inshore lifeboat despatched to rescue the man, believed to be a mile out into the Estuary.

Crews brought him ashore and he is currently being treated by paramedics at the scene.

A spokesman for the coastguard said: "A swimmer was hanging on to the pier half way out.

"The hovercraft and inshore lifeboat brought him ashore, we do not know how he got into trouble or how long he had been there."