A MULTI-AGENCY search was launched after a fishing boat caught fire in the River Dee at Thurstaston.

Emergency services were called at around 2.30am on Sunday tackle the blaze on the 20ft vessel .

At 3am West Kirby lifeboat was launched but the crew of four could not get closer than two boat lengths due to the intensity of the flames.

It was clear there were no people on board the vessel and the crew searched as far as Heswall moorings to find any possible survivors.

The RNLI crew used the lifeboat's salvage pump and fire hose to extinguish the blaze but the vessel was badly damaged and sank on its moorings.

At around 4.40am Hoylake lifeboat reported the vessel had sunk and the only trace was an area of oil from the engine and a gas canister that was possibly damaged by the heat.

But it was assessed too dangerous to recover due to the risk of explosion.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

All personnel stood down at 4.53am.