THREE kayakers were rescued by RNLI crews after they were seen struggling in the sea off Blackhall on the east Durham coast at the weekend.

Hartlepool RNLI volunteers were paged at about 1pm on Saturday by the Humber Coastguard to help the three people, who also had a rubber dinghy with them.

The all-weather lifeboat Betty Huntbatch and inshore lifeboat Solihull were launched, with the inshore lifeboat first to arrive at the scene. The crews retrieved the kayakers and their boats and returned them to the beach at Crimdon where they had launched from.

In another incident the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade and Cullercoats RNLI were alerted at 10.30am yesterday after a kayaker got into difficulty and spent up to an hour in the water off the sound end of Tynemouth Longsands.

The casualty was brought ashore by the RNLI, with help of lifeguards.