A man was winched to safety yesterday after spending two days stranded in gorse bushes.

Dean Bowen, 32, could not remember how he came to be trapped in the dense undergrowth on a cliff face at Primrose Valley in Filey, North Yorkshire.

Mr Bowen attracted the attention of a member of the public with a cigarette lighter after being trapped in the middle of the 10ft high gorse bushes since Sunday morning.

A search-and-rescue helicopter from RAF Leconfield was scrambled shortly before 5am to winch him to safety.

Mr Bowen, from Hunmanby, North Yorkshire, was suffering from mild hypothermia and dehydration and was taken to Scarborough Hospital for treatment.

Sergeant Colin Yorke, who winched Mr Bowen into the helicopter, said: ''The man was in a patch of gorse bush 10ft deep.

"We've no idea how he got there. He was right in the middle of the gorse. It was like he had been dropped there by a spaceship."

Mr Yorke, 38, who has 21 years' service with the RAF and moved to Leconfield three-and-a-half years ago, said: "It was certainly one of our stranger rescues.

"The man is a well-known local character. He had been out on Saturday night and had no idea how he had got there.

"He couldn't feel himself from the waist down because he had not moved for two days. He was out of it really.

"When we arrived we could just see this hand poking out above the top of the gorse.

"Luckily there was a small hole in the bushes, so I could be winched down and get this guy out."

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "At 3.50 this morning a lady called to say there was a man stuck in the bushes close to a cliff.

"The lady who called said he had been there for several hours, but could not give a reason as to why he could not get out.

"Police and ambulance attended and it emerged that he had been there for several hours. The fire service and coastguard were called, and they requested the help of a helicopter from RAF Leconfield.

"At 5.30am, he was winched to safety. He had been stuck there since Sunday.

"He said he had lost his mountain bike somewhere in the area."