COASTGUARDS today warned about the dangers of using toy inflatables on Dorset's beaches.

Rescuers were alerted to three incidents involving dinghies across the west of the county yesterday.

An inflatable believed to be carrying a child was blown offshore from Charmouth. Lyme coastguards, the rescue helicopter and lifeguards were called but it was a false alarm.

Rescuers called to a similar incident off Charmouth discovered the item was a blow-up dolphin. And two children in dinghies were blown offshore at Burton Bradstock last night.

The youngsters were found but rescuers say inflatables and offshore winds are a 'recipe for disaster'.

A coastguard spokesman said any children on inflatables should be supervised.

Items should be secured to the shoreline or an adult so they cannot be blown offshore.

People are also being urged to alert authorities if an inflatable with no one on board is lost - to prevent unnecessary searches.

"Observing all of these should ensure a day out on the beach will be enjoyed with a minimum of risk," the spokesman added.