A STRUGGLING dog was rescued from incoming tide in Leasowe Bay by Hoylake RNLI's hovercraft crew.

The team was requested to launch at around 11am on Thursday morning by the coastguard following calls that a person was reportedly trying to reach her dog by wading through a deep gulley.

Concerned members of the public had also raised the alarm.

With the tide flooding in, Hoylake's Inshore Rescue Hovercraft Hurley Spirit and her volunteer crew launched and headed to the scene.

Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team was also tasked. On arrival, the dog's owner was no longer in the water and was waiting on the shore.

However, the dog was still loose on the sandbank.

The hovercraft crew initially tried to coax the dog on board, but he wouldn't come to them.

The owner was then brought on board the hovercraft to try and secure the dog.

As the hovercraft approached the dog across the gulley, he entered the water and began swimming towards the hovercraft.

But he then turned away and was struggling to stay afloat with his head disappearing below the water.

A Hoylake RNLI crew member then quickly rescued the dog from the water, brought him safely on board the hovercraft and reunited him with his owner.

Both the casualty and dog were flown back ashore and passed to Coastguard officers on scene. The hovercraft and crew were then stood down and returned to the lifeboat station.

Hoylake RNLI volunteer hovercraft commander James Whiteley said: "We know it can be distressing if your dog gets into difficulty and we understand that dog owners will want to do everything they can to keep their canine companions safe.

"But if your dog goes into the water or gets stuck in mud or on a sandbank, the RNLI advises against going in after them.

"Instead, move to a place where they can reach you safely and call them - in most cases dogs will probably get back to you by themselves.

"If you are still concerned about your dog's safety at the coast, please don't take any unnecessary risks and always dial 999 for the Coastguard."

For more safety advice visit www.RNLI.org/TopDog