Four people and a dog have been rescued from a stranded boat in the middle of the estuary.

The coastguard in Southend was called yesterday morning to reports of a vessel with engine failure drifting in the middle of the Thames Estuary off Thorpe Bay.

Coastguard officers responded at 9.31am and kept a watch from the station as the RNLI in Southend launched their D class lifeboat to meet the vessel now adrift.

Once the RNLI had intercepted the stranded boat, it was confirmed all people on board and the dog were ok.

The lifeboat brought them offshore to Thorpe Bay Yacht Club slip way where they awaited low tide before they were walked back to shore.

A coastguard spokesman said: "Coastguard officers relocated to the slip way to provide additional cover if the vessel had made it to the foreshore."