A MAN called police on his mobile phone this morning to tell them he was walking into the sea off Redcar, east Cleveland.

He called just before 10am to say he was going into the water near the cafe on The Stray.

The Redcar RNLI lifeboat Leicester Challenge 2 was on a training run and immediately diverted to begin a search for the man.

The station's inshore lifeboat Jacky Hunsley was also launched.

After 15 minutes the crews were stood down after the coastguards told them the man had been found amongst sand dunes and had been taken into police custody.

Dave Cocks from Redcar RNLI says: "It appears the man called the police and told them he was going into the sea.

"The North Sea is bitterly cold at this time of the year and he wouldn't have survived very long in those conditions.

"We're glad he was found ashore. The sea was growing all the time this morning, so a protracted search would have been difficult for our volunteer crews.'

It's been a busy festive season for the RNLI crews at Redcar.

On Boxing Day the lifeboat was called to a rigid inflatable boat broken down near Marske, and on Tuesday 28 December the lifeboat was launched to assist a fishing boat that had broken down in the busy shipping lane approaching the River Tees.

Mr Cocks added: "I's a testament to the spirit that runs right through the charity that even at Christmas time the RNLI crews always answer the call."