The UK coastguard has brought a man safely back to shore after he attempted to sail from Dorset to Ireland in a 6ft inflatable dinghy.

The alarm was raised after a safety craft saw the dinghy around 2.7 nautical miles south of Durdle Door on the UK coast.

When approached, the occupant of the dinghy said he did not require any assistance.

He had two paddles, with one used as a mast accompanied by a plastic sheet as a sail, and the other used as a rudder to steer. He also had limited amount of food and drink.

He was eventually brought back to shore by a dive vessel.

There he was met by the coastguard Rescue Team, police and ambulance, and treated for a high degree of sunburn.

Commenting on the rescue, John Braisher, Watch Officer at Portland Coastguard said: "This man was extremely lucky to be found when he was. With no suitable communications equipment, limited life saving equipment and inadequate food and drink resources for his passage to Ireland, the outcome could have been very different.

"If you're planning to head out to sea, the key is to be well prepared. Inflatable dinghies, such as this, are unsuitable and not recommended for coastal passages of this nature.

"It's also vital to have appropriate VHF/DSC communications, life saving equipment and the resources to sustain a venture such as this person intended.”