TEENAGERS carried out a long-distance rescue mission to transport a crab 40 miles from a fishmongers to release it into Southend’s sea and back to freedom.

The three youngsters were spotted on a train from London Liverpool Street to Southend on Thursday, carrying a crab which they had picked up from a fishmongers in Barking, saving it from certain death.

The two boys and one girl, aged between 14 and 15, said they had “acted on the spot” in order to do something good to help the crab return to the wild.

Simon Harris, from Southend, who runs his own “Man Behaving Dadly” blog on Facebook, came across the trio on his trip home from London.

His posts about the story have since gone viral with thousands of shares and comments on Facebook.

The crab has since made it to Southend - more than 40 miles from Liverpool Street - and has been placed in the Thames Estuary to live a new life, free from the threat of a boiling pot of water.

Mr Harris nick-named the crab “Hope”.

He said: “They have bought a crab from a fishmongers and they are taking it back to the sea to live its best life.

“The only problem is that they keep having to take it to the toilet every few minutes to get it wet.”

Speaking to the Echo, he said: “They were two boys and a girl aged between 14 and 15. They found it at a fishmongers in Barking, took it to Liverpool Street where I met them.

“But the crab made it to the Thames.

“If I see something like that I ask a few questions to see what they are up to.

“They were only 15 and didn’t really know what they were doing, but they kept going to the toilet to keep it wet.”

He added: “Kids always get a bad press on social media so it just made a nice change to see something positive, genuinely something nice from something bad.”

After “Hope” made it to Southend on Friday, Mr Harris shared an update on his Facebook page.

He said: “Hope made it to Southend safely, and here’s the now world-famous crustacean enjoying a big concrete bollard ball thing outside Victoria Station (that ridiculous ‘shared space’ zone) which is just a short walk from the beach where Hope was left to crawl into the sea.”