A MASSIVE air and sea search was sparked when a pile of clothes was found on a Canvey beach.

Southend RNLI led the search after receiving a call from a concerned member of the public at 5.20pm on Sunday.

The lifeboat was launched from Southend Pier boathouse and went to the scene at Concorde Beach.

The hovercraft was also sent to help search the mudflats and shallows at Chapman Sands, east of Canvey.

The search and rescue helicopter, based at Wattisham, was diverted from exercise and joined in the search using its infer- red camera.

With the area thoroughly searched from Holehaven Creek east to Southend Pier, the operation was stood down after an hour and fifteen minute s of searching with nothing found.

It is believed someone left the clothes but had not entered the water.