Five people were cut off by the tide in what has been a dramatic weekend on the west Dorset coast.

 Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat was launched to assist coastguards ashore following reports of five people and a dog cut off by the tide near Charmouth yesterday.

The lifeboat crew launched shortly after 4pm, liaising by radio with coastguards ashore until a rescue helicopter arrived to take the people safely to dry land.

On Saturday, also near Charmouth, a 70-year-old man had been fossil hunting under Black Ven but became trapped after investigating a mud flow.

Passers-by spotted the man and alerted the coastguard, who sent the specially-trained mud rescue team from Lyme Regis with additional officers from West Bay to assist them.

Once at the scene, officers quickly found the man, who had been trapped for around 90 mins, and a mud rescue was initiated.

Due to the amount of time the man had been trapped, an ambulance was also requested.

After he was successfully released, the man was taken back to the car park at Charmouth and left in the care of the ambulance service.

A spokesman for West Bay Coastguard Rescue Team said: "While it might be tempting to go fossil hunting on the mud flows, coastguard advice remains very clear; do not put yourself at risk by investigating the muddy areas as you could easily become stuck.

"This man became trapped just a few metres from safety."

The coastguard has issued the following advice: 

*If you do become stuck in the mud then remain calm and keep as still as you can.

* Don’t struggle as this could make the situation worse. Spread your weight as much as possible and discourage others from attempting to rescue you.

*Alert the coastguard via 999 who will send a specially-trained Mud Rescue Team.

The coastgard added: "Special thanks goes out to the members of public who altered the emergency services as well as the team at the Charmouth Heritage Centre.

"If you find yourself in difficulty or if you see something which gives you cause for concern, do not hesitate to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard."