Rescuers who assisted a seven-year-old girl who got into difficulties off the coast of Walton-on-the-Naze have warned seaside visitors to be more vigilant.Over the first weekend of the school holidays Thames Coastguard received 23 callouts, including several in Essex – with 17 on Saturday alone.

Stewart Oxley, Walton and Frinton Lifeboat press officer, said: “People on the beaches need to look where they are, check the sea conditions, check the flags and understand the lay of the land.”

“Around here the beach can be really quite steep – you can be up to your knees and then take four steps and it’s over your chest.

“It doesn’t take long for young children to be out of their depth and floundering around.

“The sea is an unforgiving body – it’s never going to tire, it’s never going to give up and you are never going to beat it.”

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