A YOUNG woman who sparked a major rescue operation following fears that she had been seen walking into the sea has made contact with police.

The investigation was launched after Cleveland Police received a 999 call from a woman who said she had seen the girl walking in and out of the sea early yesterday this morning.

The young woman had been witnessed walking away from the beach in soaking wet clothes before then turning round and returning into the water - but was not seen to emerge.

The call to the emergency services - at about 7.15am - triggered the launch of three life boats, the Cleveland Police and RAF helicopters and coastguard teams.

The woman, who is believed to be aged between 17 and 19, called police after seeing news stories about the incident.

A force spokesman tonight said that a woman from the Thornaby area had contacted officers.

He said: “She was seen by officers, and it was confirmed that she had been the young lady in question.

“There is no concern for her welfare.”

There was confusion when it was discovered that the last sighting of the girl was of her walking towards a caravan park.

By lunchtime the, search had been called off.

A coastguard spokesman said the incident was being treated as a false alarm.

Dave Cocks, Redcar RNLI spokesman said the decision to call off the search was taken by the coastguard.

He said: "They use a predictive model to determine wind speeds, tides and the likely survival time for somebody who is in the water.

"They decided to stand down the RAF helicopter at noon and the search was then called off."

The police and coastguard have thanked members of the public for their help in dealing with the incident.